Section Mollusca

General remarks

The molluscan collection of the ZSM comprises shells of all systematic groups. Traditional focal points refer to pulmonates, especially Stylommatophora, and to freshwater bivalves, especially   Unionoidea.

The pulmonates are represented by approx. 100.000 samples of 13.000 species / subspecies. Most of the stylommatophorans from all parts of the world were given to the ZSM by private collectors, i.e. Blume, Friedrich and Hässlein

The Unionoidea are represented by approx. 8.000 samples of 440 species. Most samples of Unionoidea were part of the collection Modell, and were collected mainly from rivers of southern Germany.

In addition, the ZSM houses a huge number (estimated 300.000 samples) of mainly marine gastropod and bivalve shells that were recently supplemented by the private collections of  Mühlhäusser and Roll (that is estimated to comprise approx. 30.000 different species).

The so-called wet collection so far consists of approx. 5000 samples; entire specimens of mainly marine molluscs are stored in ethanol in order to preserve the formerly often ignored but taxonomically and phylogenetically important soft parts of the body. Most of the older samples were collected during expeditions of the RV „Meteor“ to the northwestern African continental shelf and to the northeastern Atlantic. More recently, extensive molluscan material (including tissue samples suitable for molecular study) has been collected mainly from Latin American coasts, Antarctica (expeditions with RV “Polarstern” to the eastern Weddell-Sea (ANT XVII-3) and along the Scotia Arc (ANT XIX-4,5)), as well as from the Mediterranean Sea. The wet collection is developed with priority due to its high scientific significance.

The molluscan collection also includes a special collection of histological serial sections. At present, more than a 100 (mainly gastropod) taxa are represented, and more series are added by our histological lab continuously.

Lists and catalogues

The various parts of the molluscan collection show a very heterogeneous degree and quality of registration. The number of primary types counts 505 at present. Information on all these types including some media files were made available only through SYSTAX. Secondary types are entered into databases in due course. Type catalogues were limited to lists of the material collected by Spix (see Fechter, 1983). Recently, we started preparing a series of type catalogues.

Most of the approx. 400.000 samples are registered within a handwritten catalog. Since 1996, all new (dry and wet) material is entered into a relational data base (Specify). In addition, older shell samples are successively entered into the data base as well; at present, approx. 30.000 data sets are available comprising all dry samples of Polyplacophara, Scaphopoda, “Archaeogastropoda”, and most of the shell collection of Mühlhäusser. The bivalve species are kept in a card index. Their is a list of all pulmonate species and subspecies according to their systematic position.


  • Fechter R. 1979. Gastropoden aus der iberischen Tiefsee. “Meteor” Forsch-Erg (Biol) D30: 23-40
  • Fechter R. 1983. Das Typenmaterial der von J.B.v. Spix in Brasilien gesammelten Unionacea. Spixiana Suppl. 9: 225-255
  • Fechter R. 1983. Liste des Typenmaterials der von J.B.v. Spix in Brasilien gesammelten Gastropoda. Spixiana Suppl. 9: 221-223.
  • Gerber, J. 1996. Revision der Gattung Vallonia RISSO 1826 (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Valloniidae). Schriften zur Malakozoologie. 8: 1-227
  • Modell, H. 1965. Die Najaden-Fauna der oberen Donau. Veröff. Zool. Staatssamml. München. 9: 159-304
  • Modell, H. 1966. Die Najaden des Main-Gebietes. 19. Bericht der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Augsburg. 109: 1-51
  • Modell, H. 1974. Die Najaden des Neckar-Gebietes (Bivalvia, Unionacea). Veröff. Zool. Staatssamml. München. 17: 109-138
  • Knebelsberger, T., Schwabe, E. & Schrödl, M. (2005). Molluscan types of the Bavarian state collection of Zoology Munich (ZSM) Part 1. Polyplacophora, Scaphopoda, Cephalopoda. Spixiana. 28 (2): 97–108.


Catalog Pulmonata

Section Mollusca