General Invertebrates

The General Invertebrates Collection is worldwide in scope, with emphasis on localities in the Eastern and Gulf Coasts of the United States. The collection contains dry and alcohol-preserved specimens representing 14 phyla which includes Protozoa, Porifera, Cnidaria, Platyhelminthes, Gastrotricha, Rotifera, Nemata, Nematomorpha, Annelida, Arthropoda, Bryozoa, Brachiopoda, and Echinodermata. The systematically arranged collection contains 18,000 lots, about evenly divided between dry, alcohol-preserved, and prepared slides of specimens. Additionally, approximately 7,500 uncatalogued, unarranged alcohol-preserved lots document more recent collections by Academy researchers and their colleagues.

The collection of types contains widely dispersed world localities. Many of these specimens represent collections acquired from foreign researchers, individual donors, and specimens surviving from world-venturing expeditions. Many specimens were collected during the Academy's first expedition, in 1817-1818, to the Sea Islands of Georgia and the east coast of Florida. Some specimens from such famous expedition as the United States Exploring Expedition around the world (1838-1842) were deposited with the Academy. Other specimens are accessory collections from Academy expeditions that concentrated on other areas of investigation; for example, many collectors and expeditions familiar to workers in the mollusk collection can be found sporadically through the entire General Invertebrates Collection.

The collection is strong in the arthropod class Crustacea, particularly the Decapoda, and in the phylum Annelida, particularly the classes Polychaeta and Hirudinoidea. Important taxonomically restricted collections within the overall collections are:

  • Edward Potts Collection: Porifera (Spongillidae)
  • Rotifera microslide collection (See Rotifera)
  • J. Percy Moore Collection: Annelida (Polycheata, Hirudinoidae)
  • Joseph Leidy Collection: parasitic organisms (Nemata, Nematomorpha)
  • Felix-Edouard Guerin-Meneville Collection: Crustacea

Since 1948, staff of the Patrick Center for Environmental Research at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia have surveyed the aquatic fauna and flora of more than 100 watersheds and estuaries, mostly in the eastern US, but also in Canada, Puerto Rico, and Peru. They used techniques pioneered by Academy scientist Dr. Ruth Patrick, for whom the Patrick Center is named. The surveys covered a broad range of taxa, including fish, diatoms, algae, sponges, flatworms, annelids, mollusks, crustaceans and insects, and aimed to determine the health of aquatic ecosystems. To search this collection, please click here.

Queries concerning the collection shoud be sent to:

Paul Callomon, Collections Manager
Malacology Department
Academy of Natural Sciences
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1101
215 405-5096