Deep Sea


  Important Museum Collections

Marine Science and especially Marine Parasitology necessitates the evaluation of type material that has been deposited by scientists often many years ago. Many original species descriptions are very old, and a valid scientific name includes beside the description, genus, species name, describer and year of description the reference to the deposited museum material (e.g. Microbothriorhynchus reimeri Palm, 2004 => BMNH 2001.12.3.3 holotype and BMNH 2001.12.3.4 paratype). The abbreviation such as BMNH stands for the British Museum of Natural History in London, where a large collection of marine fish parasites has been deposited. Each larger museum collection includes the former private collections of many famous scientists, and represents a treasure for marine fish parasitologists to study often rare material of high taxonomic importance. Many species descriptions base on specimens that have been deposited many years ago, long before another scientist is able to publish a species desciption according to the rules of the International Code of Nomenclature (ICN).

The Natural History Museum in London, Parasitic Worms Devision, with Dr. T. Littlewood working on the phylogeny of parasitic flatworms and other metazoans

There are several museums around the world that have an international reputation and include the most famous marine fish parasite collections. The British Museum of Natural History in London has a huge and well sorted parasite collection in The Parasitic Worms Devision, including the collection of e.g. T. Southwell. The Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris harbours the collection of the French parasitologist R. Ph. Dollfus that studied fish parasites but also other parasites all around the world. The Naturhistorisches Museum in Wien and the Musem für Naturkunde Berlin include specimens of the Austrian T. Pintner. The Japanese scientist S. Yamaguti has deposited his material in The Meguro Parasitological Museum in Tokyo => see below (other museums and their websites are listed here). All these museums have large numbers of often unidentified speciemens stored in vials in the extensive collections, being a paradise for all natural scientist including the marine parasitologist.

The Meguro Parasitological Museum (MPM) with the 8.8 m long human tapeworm Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense isolated from a Japanese man, the facilities and the Yamaguti collection

The Meguro Parasitological Museum in Tokyo is the World´s only Parasitological museum and also a tourist attraction. The exhibition explains about parasitism in general, the parasite life cycles and zoonotic parasites that can infest humans. It was established in 1953 by the private funds of S. Kamegai, a Doctor of Medical Sciences, and is supported by volunteers from the private sector and by the assistence of the government. The museum activities are research and education as well as the maintainance of the collection, and to provide expertise on public request. It nowadays includes the research material of S. Yamaguti (1894-1976), his specimens, papers, books and notes, as well as material from other Japanese parasitologists. In total 45 000 immersed and prepared parasite specimens including 1500 types have been deposited in the collection. Working as a lecturer at Kyoto University and than as a professor at Okayama University, S. Yamaguti described over 1000 different parasite species, published 10 volumes on the systematics of parasites (Systema Helminthum), and explored the parasite fauna of Japan, Indonesia and Hawai. Visit the MEGURO PARASITOLOGICAL MUSEUM.

All museum collections have curators that are very helpful to access the specimens. They are interested scientists that study specific animal taxa by themselves. They all have in common getting excited by finding small obscure characters "that nobody else can understand". They do co-operate with scientists from all around the world and enable them to continue their studies. There are international funding programms available (e.g. by the EU) that support scientists to visit the different museum collections.

The Indonesian Biodiversity Collection in LIPI-Cibinong




Home | Museums | Mariculture | Deep Sea | Crustaceans