Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona


Science Scientific departments Arthropods

The Arthropods collection is the Museum’s largest and most diverse collection as it contains between 1,750,000 and 1,900,000 specimens, more than half the total number of specimens held in the Museum collections overall. It includes representatives of most of the different subphylum orders (Chelicerata, Crustacea, Uniramia) that comprise the phylum Arthropoda, although the Hexapoda group is the most represented, substantially by Insecta, and particularly Coleoptera. The collection of type specimens in the Arthropoda collection is of great scientific value, both in terms of number of specimens and species, and taxonomic groups represented.

The Arthropods team consists of 2 curators, 2 documentalists and an entomologist, but the day-to-day working of the department would not be possible without our extensive network of specialist collaborators who help in answering queries, identifying material and reorganising the collection. Through our joint efforts we lend the collections further scientific value.

The essential daily tasks of the Department, such as planning, documenting and computerising the collection, are carried out with the aid of two documentalists from the company Myrmex. The tasks involving preparation, management and identification of the specimens obtained from research projects and collection resources are undertaken by an external entomologist.

Specialist collaboration is extremely important for giving museum collections scientific value. Over 30 specialists are engaged in our Arthropoda collection, most of them in reviewing and specifically determining different taxonomic groups, while others are engaged in specimen harvesting and biospeleology.

  • Staff
  • Projects
  • Publications

Museum staff

External staff

  • Neus Brañas Valcarcel, biologist , Myrmex, S.L.
  • Jorge Mederos López, biologist, Diptera specialist and expert biospeleologist
  • Sergi Gago, biologist , Myrmex, S.L.


Specialised collaborators

  • Lluís Auroux : biospeleologist and committed harvester , BIOSP
  • Iñaki Balanzategui: biologist, specialised in mites
  • José Antonio Barrientos: specialised in Araneidae , UAB professor , UAB
  • Joan Bentanachs Calvo: veterinary doctor and specialised in Coleoptera of the Cerambycidae family of Indo-Malay distribution, and in Iberian Chrysomelidae
  • Helena Barril: biologist, specialised in bees (Apoidea, Hymenoptera)
  • Jordi Bosch: researcher, specialised in bees (Apoidea, Hymenoptera) → CREAF
  • Alice Casiraghi: entomologyst, especialist in aphids (Aphidoidea. Homoptera)
  • Jordi Comas: biospeleologist and specialised in hypogeous Coleoptera , BIOSP
  • José Manuel Diéguez: entomologist, specialised in Coleoptera: Cantharidae, Malachiidae, and Anthicidae
  • Xavier Espadaler Gelabert: myrmecologist (Hymenoptera) , UAB professor and CREAF researcher
  • Florentí Fadrique: biospeleologist and committed harvester , BIOSP
  • Diego Fernández: entomologist, specialised in Hemiptera Heteroptera
  • Mar Ferrer Suay : entomologist, specialised in Cynipoidea (Hymenoptera)
  • Lluís Filbà: entomologist, specialised in Trichoptera
  • Xavier Fresneda: biologist, specialised in Leiodidae Coleoptera
  • Federico García: biologist, specialised in Formicidae
  • Marta Goula: entomologist, specialised in Hemiptera , UB professor
  • David Llucià: entomologist, specialised in Orthoptera
  • Ramon Macià: entomologist, specialised in arctids and other moths
  • Ricard Martín: biologist, specialised in dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata)
  • Agustí Meseguer: biospeleologist and nature photographer , BIOSP
  • Josep M. Michelena Saval : entomologist, specialised in braconids Aphidiinae (Hymenoptera)
  • Josep Muñoz Batet: specialised in Scarabaeidae Coleoptera
  • Nicolás Pérez Hidalgo: entomologist, aphid specialised (Aphidoidea. Homoptera)
  • Josep Joaquim Pérez De Gregorio: entomologist, specialised in Lepidoptera
  • Miguel Prieto Manzanares: entomologist,specialised in Dermestidae, Leiodidae, and Meloidae ( Coleoptera) , Myrmex
  • Juli Pujade Villar: entomologist, specialised in Cynipoidea (Hymenoptera) , UB professor
  • Mariàngels Puig: biologist, specialised in Ephemeroptera
  • Sergio Tróccoli: veterinary, specialised in longhorn beetles (Coleoptera)
  • Amador Viñolas Saborit: entomologist, specialised in Coleoptera in particular Anobiidae and Tenebrionidae families
  • Eduard Vives: entomologist, specialised in longhorn beetles

At the Arthropods Department research projects are under way at community level in various different spheres and on different scales: study of collections, classic taxonomic reviews of the different taxa, biodiversity studies in different areas or of different groups, and studies on trophic networks of insects. However, most notable among the research projects are those of longstanding tradition at the Museum, such as the studies on the hypogeous fauna of Catalonia and North Africa.

Collection documentation projects

Since 1999 when the new Collection Management Department was created, headed by Glòria Masó, we have considered it of prime importance to improve the documentation and computerisation of our collection resources, because correct documentation is essential for correct management of the collection and also for promptly resolving the vast number of scientific queries received by the department. In terms of priority, our medium- and long-term documentary projects are: documentation, taxonomic review and detailed computerisation of TYPE specimens, figured specimens and specimens of hypogeous fauna. Many of the taxonomic specialists and members of our Arthropods team (see Team section) are engaged in this task in order to ensure the coordinated scientific and documentary management of the collection.

Research projects

Arthropoda are one of the most successful taxonomic groups in evolutionary terms, as the group is very extensive and diverse. It is estimated that Arthropoda account for approximately 80% of all known animal species at present. That is why any research project in which Arthropoda are the study group requires good teamwork, because it is essential to ensure close collaboration, both with the network of taxonomy specialists, in order to obtain correct, precise lists of species, and with the Department specialists, in order to ensure correct documentation and management of the large number of specimens to be processed and included in the collection resources.

Lines of research: