The Mollusc Collection


The Mollusc Collection, established in 1932 by Prof. G. Haas, records the mollusc inventory in the Middle East – species, their distribution and their geographic variation. It contains material from all three habitats: marine (the Red and Mediterranean Seas), freshwater and terrestrial (from Turkey in the north to Egypt in the south, including Cyprus). Furthermore, the shores ofIsrael are on the migration route of marine molluscs migrating from the Red Sea to theMediterranean Sea, and the collection is one of the major databases in the world about changes in the Mediterranean mollusc fauna due to this Lessepsian migration.

This is the largest collection in the world of Middle East molluscs and it is continuously expanding. Beyond this regional material the collection contains also material from all parts of the world, thus enabling detailed comparisons.  This foreign material was mainly acquired by donations of entire collections, including the malacological libraries, of G.S. Coen (Venice,Italy), R. Neuville (Jerusalem/Paris, France) and A. Blok (Rottingdean, England). At present it houses some 1,000,000 specimens coming from 100,000 samples that represent 20,000 species. Among the specimens ca. 3,000 are Type specimens. Most samples consist of shells only, but the collection contains also specimens preserved in alcohol. The collection is backed by a library of 1,100 books, 320 volumes of periodicals and 10,000 reprints.

The collection serves for research, academic teaching,  assistance to other institutes, and public education.

A Glance into Mollusca

Type Material

The mollusc collection is rich in type material. Especially in the former Coen and Blok collections are hundreds of samples with the indication that they consist of type material. All these types: holotypes, paratypes, syntypes, lectotypes and paralectotypes, are currently in the progress of being separated from the general collection and stored in the type collection. This is a time consuming process, because all the supposed type samples have to be compared with their original descriptions.


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Collection Staff

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