3. Zoology Collection Mollusca

Natural History Museum Vienna

Wien | Website

Electronic database

Short Description

The beginnings of the Collection Mollusca date back to the 18th century. Franz Stephan of Lorraine acquired the collection of the Florentine Baillou for his private collection, which included many shells. It formed the basis for the later founded k.k. Natural history Cabinet. Most of these shells are still in Collection Mollusca until today.
Numerous curators and employees contributed significantly to the extensive and internationally significant collection that exists today through their academic and curatorial work and ongoing expansion, including: Ignaz von Born, Georg Ritter von Frauenfeld and Rudolf Sturany.

Important collecting trips, such as the circumnavigation of the Novara (1857-1859) or the deep-sea expeditions of the Pola to the eastern Mediterranean (1890-1893) and the Red Sea (1895-1898), significantly enlarged the Collection Mollusca, also did acquisitions or donations of some extensive private collections, including:
J.P.R. Draparnaud (1820), T.M.A. Monterosato (1889), H. Tschapek (1898), C. Gerstenbrandt (1915), A. Oberwimmer (1952/53), L. Rusnov (1953), A. Edlauer (1960), W. Klemm (1969), K . Uetz (1975) and F. Starmühlner (various collecting trips 1971-1991).

The Collection Mollusca currently comprises around 1,000,000 series (an estimated 7 million pieces), of which around 5,000 are type specimens. The majority are (dry)shells (97%), approx. 2% of the collection is preserved in ethanol, the remaining contents of the collection (1%) are microslides or SEM specimens.

For historical reasons, the groups of Brachiopoda, Bryozoa and Tunicata are also managed in the Collection Mollusca, partly preserved as dry material and partly in ethanol.

Contact Person

Mag. Anita Eschner

Research Services

Help with identification of molluscs possible on request.
Creation of digital copies (photos or literature scans) possible for cooperation partners.
Preparation of experises.
Tissue samples partially available for DNA analysis in projects with cooperation partners.
Assistance with inquiries on historical material or specific literature.
Extensive specialist library useable on site, after registration.

Methods & Expertise for Research Infrastructure

The Collection Mollusca can be used for a wide range of questions and research approaches. In addition to classical morphological taxonomic studies, we also support molecular analyzes in cooperation with the Central Research Laboratories at the NHM. Through jointly carried out projects on alpine land snails in Austria and the Austrian Barcode of Life project - sub-part molluscs, there is extensive material in this area and good cooperation with taxonomists and specialists. Due to our global coverage, we can guarantee a relatively good sample coverage in many areas for many projects that are carried out in cooperation with our department. The focus is on land gastropods from Central & Eastern Europe and the Balkan countries, marine mollusks from the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, as well as historically significant collections with extensive type material such as Ignaz von Born, Jacques P.R. Draparnaud, Georg Ritter von Frauenfeld or Rudolf Sturany. Due to the long, well-documented history of the Collection Mollusca, many taxonomic or fauna-geographical comparisons over time are also possible for studies.

Allocation to Core Facility

3. Zoological Department, Natural History Museum Vienna

Access for scientists and interested parties during office hours (mon-fri, 9-16 hours) subject to agreement
ALBANO, P.G., BAKKER, P.A.J., JANSSEN, R. & ESCHNER, A. (2017): An illustrated catalogue of Rudolf Sturany’s type specimens in the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Austria (NHMW): Red Sea gastropods. – Zoosystematics and Evolution 93 (1): 45-94. DOI 10.3897/zse.93.10039
ALBANO, P.G., SCHNEDL, S.M. & ESCHNER, A. (2018): An illustrated catalogue of Rudolf Sturany’s type specimens in the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Austria (NHMW): deep-sea Eastern Mediterranean molluscs – Zoosystematics and Evolution 94 (1): 29-56. DOI 10.3897/zse.94.20116
ALBANO, P.G., SCHNEDL, S.M., JANSSEN, R. & ESCHNER, A. (2019): An illustrated catalogue of Rudolf Sturany’s type specimens in the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Austria (NHMW): Red Sea bivalves. – Zoosystematics and Evolution 95 (2): 557-598.
ALBANO, P.G., SCHNEDL, S.M. & ESCHNER, A. (2020): An illustrated catalogue of Rudolf Sturany’s type specimens in the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Austria (NHMW): more Red Sea species. – Zoosystematics and Evolution 96 (2): 571-576. DOI 10.3897/zse.96.54707
ESCHNER, A., (2005): Vom Sammeln zur wissenschaftlichen Sammlung. - In: Das Meer im Zimmer. Von Tintenschnecken und Muscheltieren. Herausgeber: Landesmuseum Joanneum und Elisabeth Schlebrügge, Graz, p.39-43.
ESCHNER, A. (2008): Georg von Frauenfeld: Die Bedeutung seiner Arbeiten für die Malakologie. - Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien 109B: 15-31.
ESCHNER, A. (2019): Zur Geschichte der Molluskensammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien, Denisia 42: 567-577.
ESCHNER, A., VINARSKI, M.V. & SCHNEDL, S.M. (2020): Addendum to the examination of the type material of freshwater mollusk species described by J.P.R. Draparnaud. - Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien 122B: 183-191.
KRUCKENHAUSER, L., DUDA, M., SCHINDELAR, J., MACEK, O., REIER, S. & ESCHNER, A., (2019): DNA-Barcoding österreichischer Mollusken – Ein Projekt der Initiative „Austrian Barcode of Life“, Denisia 42: 511-515.
VINARSKI, M.V. & ESCHNER, A. (2016): Examination of the type material of freshwater mollusk species described by J.P.R. Draparnaud. - Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien 118B: 29-53.