As their name suggests, invertebrates are distinguished by their lack of a backbone.
An astounding 95% of animal species are invertebrates, including arthropods, mollusks, and more. Keep reading to explore some of the invertebrate specimens within our collections.
Entomology is the study of insects—a group that comprises more than 70% of named species. Insects are typically preserved as dried and pinned specimens. The Academy’s collection contains nearly 71,100 insect specimens, primarily Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and Coleoptera (beetles), and some related arthropods.
Malacology is the study of mollusks—soft bodied animals that include snails and slugs, clams and squids. Conchology is the study of the shells these animals make. This is the Academy’s largest collection with over 113,300 specimens of primarily freshwater and terrestrial species but also includes marine snails and other groups. Notably, we have a large, early collection of Unionidae. These are freshwater clams that are very diverse in our region and are the most endangered group of animals in the world. Another key portion of the collection comes from former curator Frank C. Baker, whose pioneering work on fresh water gastropods is cited to this day.