The invertebrate department deals with all animals, apart from arthropods and vertebrates, molluscs, annelidsa, nematods, echinoderms and all minor phyla.
The aim of the invertebrate department is the study, collection and preservation of all species living in the Mediterranean either on land or in the sea. Emphasis is given in terrestrial and fresh water invertebrates.
Invertebrate department research concerns
- systematics of terrestrial and fresh water molluscs of the Mediterranean
- biogeography of land snails of the Mediterranean
- ecology of terrestrial and fresh water molluscs in the Mediterranean
Additionally, in collaboration with the Biological department of the University of Crete, undergraduate theses, master theses and doctoral theses take place in the Invertebrate department.
Collections of Invertebrates Department
The collections are contemporary and number more than 200,000 lots. Most of the material has been collected by Dr. M. Mylonas from all the Aegean islands and islets, the Greek mainland and from many countries of the world, and from the land snail collection of Dr. K. Vardinoyannis from the Aegean islands. Most of the material from other mediterranean countries comes from research expeditions of the staff of our Museum.
The marine collections come mainly from sampling of IMBB (Institut of Marine Biology) around the Mediterranean Sea, mainly from deep sea.
The land snail collection is the most significant. In the museums collections all the greek species, more than 1.000 species, are represented as well as most of eastern mediterranean and north African species. Apart from the mediterranean species there are many species from all the continents.
The greek species collection is considered one of the best - valuable of the world since nearly all species are represented by 75% alcohol material, and not only by the shell, and many by 100% alcohol or freezed and also from all the islands, islets and mountains of Greece. Althoufgh the collection is recent it already includes types and paratypes of greek species.
The collections also house representatives from a variety of phyla mainly from Greece but also from other parts of the Mediterranean, especially north Africa. Annelids and nematodes are from different parts of Crete, the greek mainland and the islands of Greece. Many marine invertebrates, especially deep sea living organisms are included in the collections.
The collections are organised firstly geographically and tat a second level taxonomically.
In addition with the "classical" collections there are collections of 75% alcohol, and specimens are also preserved in -20oC for molecular studies.
In the department, in paralell with the central libraries of the University of Crete and the Natural History Museum of Crete, there is a large number of reprints and books. The reprints number more than 3000 papers that deal with the greek malacofauna and mediterranean land snails. For the other invertebrate phyla major works concerning either the phylum or Greece can be found in the library. Also more than 150 books are found in the departemnt also dealing with invertebrates.
Filing, either for collections or for printed material, is done electronically in databases.