Guide to collections

Permanent exhibition of molluscs

Name Permanent exhibition of molluscs
Alternative name MCNB. Col. permanent exhibition molluscs
Cite as Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona (MCNB). Permanent exhibition of molluscs
MCNB. Col. permanent exhibition molluscs
Description This group of specimens consists of the molluscs that form part of the permanent exhibition Planeta Vida in the Museu Blau. The selected specimens illustrate themes such as diversity, adaptation to the environment, evolution, nomenclature and classification, both in the main exhibition and in the small associated exhibitions known as Science Islands. The collection consists of whole organisms, shells and eggs, preserved in ethyl alcohol 70o or as dry material. In all, there are 390 specimens corresponding to 144 lots and 91 species, most of which are Gastropodea (almost 90% of lots). The classes Bivalvia, Cephalopoda, Polyplacophora and Scaphopoda (in descending numerical order) complete the molluscs contained in this exhibition. Of note amongst the Gastropodea are the series of continental snails that illustrate the concepts of inter- and intra-specific variability (i.e. Xerocrassa from the Balearic Islands, Achatinella from Hawaii and Helicostyla from the Philippines) and chromatic polymorphism (Cepaea nemoralis from the Iberian Peninsula and Polymita picta from Cuba). Other Iberian elements have been chosen to form part of the Science Island devoted to nomenclature and classification. Also included are specimens from historical collections (founder collection of Francesc Martorell and collections of Artur Bofill, Joan Baptista d'Aguilar-Amat, Joan Rosals, Manuel de Chía, Baltasar Serradell, Naples Zoological Station, amongst others), as well as more recent objects from the collections of Luis Gasull, Joan Rosal and Miquel Bech. Despite a wide geographical range to the collection amongst both the continental and marine molluscs, samples from the Iberian Peninsula (mainly Catalonia), the Balearic Islands and the rest of the Mediterranean, along with Philippines and Hawaii, predominate. The whole collection is registered, documented and computerized to specimen level. Data from part of the collection can be consulted on-line at the website of the Barcelona Natural History Museum and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility website.
Provenance The current exhibition in the Museu Blau (opened in 2011) consists of a selection of molluscs from the Museum’s former permanent collection (housed in the building of the Three Dragons), as well as other specimens from its collection that have never previously been put on show. Of the former, of interest are the series of Xerocrassa from the Balearic Islands, Cepaea nemoralis from the Iberian Peninsula and Polymita picta from Cuba, complemented for the new exhibition by more Achatinella from Hawaii and Helicostyla from the Philippines, to illustrate the concepts of variability and polymorphism. Other new elements from the Museum’s collections have been incorporated into the Science Island devoted to nomenclature and classification. The oldest samples correspond to Francesc Martorell’s shell collection that was part of the Museum’s founding collection (1879). There is also material from other historical collections such as those of Joan Baptista d'Aguilar-Amat, Artur Bofill, Joan Rosals, Manuel de Chía, Baltasar Serradell and the Jaume Balmes Institute, amongst others. The oldest wet specimens originate from the Oceanographic Section’s collection that was set up at the beginning of 1917, and which includes specimens from the Naples Zoological Station. A number of specimens originate from collecting trips carried out by collectors that collaborated with the Museum and from other sources. The most recent additions include specimens from the collections of Luis Gasull (donated in 1983), Joan Rosal (2000) and Miquel Bech (2009). Francesc Uribe has been the curator of the Department of Non-Arthropod Invertebrates since 1997 and since then the inventory and computerization of the Museum’s whole collection has been carried out to lot level.
Kingdom coverage Animalia
Taxon coverage Bivalvia, Caphalopoda, Gastropoda, Polyplacophora, Scaphopoda
Common name coverage cuttlefish, land snails, nautilus, sea hares, sea snails, squids
Geospatial coverage Antilles, Atlantic Ocean, Balearic Islands (strength), Catalonia (strength), Gulf of Naples, Hawaii (strength), Iberian Peninsula, India, Indian Ocean, Mauritius, Mediterranean Sea, Pacific Ocean, Philippines (strength), Southeastern Asia, archipelagos and islands of Oceania
Collectors Aguilar-Amat, Joan Baptista d'
Altimira Aleu, Carles
Bech Taberner, Miquel
Bofill i Poch, Artur
Cuatrecasas, J.
Español i Coll, Francesc
Font i Quer, Pius
Gasull Martínez, Luis
Giménez, Carmen
Haas, Friedrich
Novellas Bofill, Santiago
Orozco Sanchís, Albert
Collection type Preserved
Primary purpose Exhibition
Include types No
Grouping principle Taxonomic
Formations periods 2010-2011
Development statuses Static
Collection extents 144 lots, 470 specimens, 91 species
Documentation state Documentary control of 100% of lots (register, inventory and computerization). Identification to species level, with nomenclature revised and up-to-dated for the exhibition (incorporated into Museum Plus).
Object class eggs, shells, whole organisms
Specimen preservation methods Fluid-preserved, No Treatment
Preparation and conservation Dry and wet material prepared for exhibition. Periodical quality controls of the preserving fluid for wet specimens. Monitoring of the environmental conditions of display cases and storage areas.
McGinley conservation statuses Level 8
Conservation status date 15-10-2014 (dd-mm-yyyy)
Institution Natural Science Museum of Barcelona - Non-Arthropod Invertebrates Department
Parent collection Permanent exhibition of non-arthropod invertebrates
Associated person Miguel Prieto (Documentalist), Francesc Uribe (Curator),
Item level access MCNB Mollusca GBIF online database (date when consulted) (accessed through GBIF data portal,, 2013-09-04)
Col·leccions en línia de Zoologia (MCNB) / Online Zoological Collections (MCNB)
Related collections Museum's collection of marine fauna originating from the former Oceanographic section. Collection of marine fauna originating from the Naples Zoological Station.

Related material Bofill i Poch, A., 1918. Moluscos Ingressats en el Museu des de el 1er de juliol de 1917. Anuari de la Junta de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona, 3: 201-224.

Gasull, L., 1964. Las Helicella (Xeroplexa) de Baleares, Gasteropoda, Pulmonata. Boletín de la Sociedad de Historia Natural de Baleares, 10(1-4): 3-67 + 9 láms.

Josep Maluquer, 1917. Organització i increment de la Secció Oceanogràfica. Anuari de la Junta de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona, 2: 205-238.

Martorell, M. & Bofill, A., 1888. Catálogo de la colección conchiológica que fué de D. Francisco Martorell y Peña legada por dicho señor á la ciudad de Barcelona y existente en el Museo Martorell de la propia ciudad. Barcelona. 94 pp.

Uribe, F. et al., 1994. Museu de Zoologia, guia (Omedes A., coord.). Ajuntament de Barcelona, Regidoria d'Edicions i Publicacions. Barcelona.