Marine Biology Collections

Mollusc dry

Being situated near, the Atlantic, Indian and Antarctic marine systems has resulted in a wide diversity of southern African and other marine fauna being held in the collections at Iziko South African Museum.

Early European researchers habitually sent their material overseas so, although the collection became established in 1896, there were only occasional accessions before that date. Since then, the collection has grown and collaboration with universities, commercial fishing companies, government departments and the general public, who have donated material to these collections, has resulted in them being considered to be amongst the best in the world. Staff and local and international scientists and students study the collections. The majority of the specimens are preserved in alcohol, although plankton samples, medusae and larval fishes are preserved in formalin. 

There is an excellent dry mollusc collection and a small fish osteological collection. The collections also include slides. Significant portions of the collections have been computerised.