The Bavarian State Collection of Zoology (Zoologische Staatssammlung München, ZSM) is a collection-oriented research institution of the Bavarian Natural History Collections (Staatliche Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen Bayerns, SNSB). With a total of approximately 22 million inventory units, it is one of the three largest research institutions for natural history in Germany. The largest butterfly collection in the world contains more than 10 million specimens.
In addition to collecting, organizing and preserving zoological objects, scientific research and its presentation to the public are among the main tasks of the ZSM. Basic research focuses on the description of new animal species (taxonomy) and the study of their relationthips (phylogeny), distribution (faunistics and zoogeography) and life history (ecology). The ZSM is currently creating a genetic reference library of all (almost 35,000) Bavarian animal species in order to allow their accurate identification, including all life history stages (eggs, larvae or tissue samples).
The library of the ZSM holds more than 90.000 books and about 1500 current journals. The most valuable part of the library is the collection of historical books going back to the 16th century.
The research results of the ZSM are made accessible not only to the professional world, but also to a broad public through scientific publications, web portals, citizen science projects and popular science lectures and special exhibitions. These activities are summarized in the annual reports and Yearbooks of the SNSB.