Crustacean collection

A lobster specimen against a black background

The Crustacea collections are of international importance, containing significant historical material and recently collected specimens across all Orders. 

Of international significance are collections associated with the renown Crustacea workers William Elford Leach, Adam White, John Robert Henderson, Charles Spence-Bate, Edward J. Miers, Rev. Terrance Rathcoe Read Stebbing, Alfred Merle Norman, Alfred O. Walker and Keppel Harcourt Barnard.

Notable collectors are Hermann von Maltzan and John Murray.

The collection includes material from Wilhelm de Haan, William Stimpson, Georg Ossian Sars, Wilhelm Liljeborg, Antonio Della Valle, James Wood-Mason and Alfred William Alcock thanks to exchange or gifts through the prolific and collegiate Victorian to Edwardian era.

Other significant ties, acquisitions and gifts:

  • Smithsonian Institution, William Stimpson and Sidney Irving (S.I.) Smith.
  • Indian Museum, Calcutta (1879-1903) via Wood-Mason, Anderson and Alcock.
  • San Francisco circa 1879 via W.N. Lockington.
  • material displayed at the 1883 International Fisheries Exhibition (including China).
  • Warsaw Museum ~1856 to 1879 collections (mainly of Stolzman and Jelski) Black Sea, Turkey, French Guiana and Peru
  • Australian Museum circa 1885 and 1890 (BMNH 1885.22).
  • Sarawak Museum ~1900 (coll. R. Shelford, via William Forster Lanchester), Malaysia; Siboga Expedition (1899 to 1900), mainly Cumacea ~20 lots.
  • Lake Baikal, Russia.

Building on our collections amassed from around the world, recent acquisitions have come from Asia, the Gulf of Mexico, Antarctic hydrothermal vents, St Helena and the UK.  



Specimen breakdown by major groupings

  • Amphipoda: 29,000 (wet, dry, slides)
  • Cirripedia: 58,000 (wet, dry, slides)
  • Copepoda: 73,000 (wet, slides)
  • Cumacea: 2,900 (wet, slides)
  • Decapoda: 612,000 (wet, dry, slides)
  • Isopoda: 110,000 (wet, dry, slides)
  • Mysidacea: 56,000 (wet, dry, slides)
  • Ostracoda: 58,000 (wet, slides)
  • Stomatopoda: 3,400 (wet, slides)
  • Tanaidacea: 2,100 (wet, slides)

Important historical collections

  • Charles Spence Bate collection
  • Alfred Merle Norman collection
  • T.R.R. Stebbing collection (Peracarida: isopods and amphipods)

Expedition material

  • HMS Congo (West Africa)
  • HMS Fly (South West Pacific including Australia)
  • HMS Rattlesnake (South West Pacific)
  • HMS Challenger (global oceanographic mission 1872-1876)
  • HMS Sylvia (Japan and Korea)
  • HMS Alert (South America and South Pacific)
  • Terra Nova expedition (Antarctica 1910-1913)
  • HMS Discovery (Antarctic Investigations 1925-1928)
  • IOS Discovery collection (Atlantic Ocean)

Looking for a specimen?

This collection is being digitised

Principal Curator (Crustacea)

Miranda Lowe

If you would like to use any specimens for research, please get in touch

Principal Curator in Charge, Invertebrates (non-insects)

Dr Lauren Hughes

If you would like to use any specimens for research, please get in touch

Specialist reference libraries

Crustacea Section Library books and reprint collection.

Tattersall personal reprint library.

Collections on the move

Access to some collections will be affected as we prepare for the move to our new collections, science and digitisation centre.

Accessing the collections

Scientists and collections management specialists can visit the collections and borrow specimens for research.

Collections management

Our duty is to provide a safe and secure environment for all of our collections.