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  • Bivalve Collection of the Museum of Zoology

Historical Significance of the Bivalve Collection of the University Museum of Zoology


Pecten jacobaeus figure
Specimen of Pecten jacobaeus and a reproduction of the plate from Lovell Reeve’s Conchologia Iconica in which this specimen is figured (figure 39a at the top).

The University Museum of Zoology has a large collection of shells from around the world, only a fraction of which can be displayed in the galleries.

In this collection are about 200 type specimens. These are the specimens that were originally used to define particular species. The collection also contains a number of important specimens of historical interest, including several that have been figured in well known books on Conchology. The scallop (Pecten jacobaeus) pictured here originally came from the collection of Jane Saul (1807-1895), who was described in 1896 as “the last of the old shell-collectors”. It is one of several specimens in our collections figured in Lovell Reeve’s monumental work Conchologia Iconica: or illustrations of the shells of molluscous animals published in 20 volumes (1843-78) illustrated by G.B. Sowerby (2nd).

Further information about the signifance of the mollusc collections of the Museum of Zoology can be found on the Molluscs page.