Collections

Biology

The Royal Museum for Central Africa is the custodian of 10 million biological specimens that include:

  • 6 million insects
  • 1 million fish
  • 300,000 spiders
  • 200,000 amphibians
  • 150,000 birds
  • 135,000 mammals
  • 80,000 wood samples
  • 41,000 reptiles

 

 Wood

Xylarium

With its 80,000 wood samples from 13,600 different botanical species, the RMCA's xylarium is the third largest wood collection in the world.

Its specimens come from all over the world.

> Xylarium database

Chief Scientist:
Hans Beeckman
hans.beeckman@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 5611

Contact:
Annelore Nackaerts
annelore.nackaerts@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 5639

 

 

Vertebrates

Fish

With 1 million specimens, our collection is the largest collection of African fresh and brackish water fish in the world. It contains the type material of one third of all described African species

We also have the largest collection of type specimens from Lakes Kivu and Tanganyika, which has continuously grown since the museum's creation. In addition, a major, more recent collection of some hundred species from Lake Malawi, the majority of which are undescribed, is available. 

Cichlids from Lakes Kivu and Tanganyika 

Chief Scientists:
Jos Snoeks
jos.snoeks@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 56 28

Didier Van den Spiegel
didier.van.den.spiegel@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 54 11

Collection Manager:
Miguel Parrent
miguel.parrent@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 5633

 

Birds

Our collection contains 150,000 bird specimens, including flat-skins, specimens preserved in alcohol, mounted specimens and skeletons

Approximately 250 species and sub-species of bird are represented by type specimens.

Ornithology collections online: 

Chief Scientist:
Didier Van den Spiegel
didier.van.den.spiegel@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 54 11

Collection Manager:
Alain Reygel
alain.reygel@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 56 27 - +32 2 769 54 13

 

Mammals

The collections contain more than 135,000 mammals, represented by skins, specimens preserved in alcohol, skulls and skeletons.

Rodents (88,000) and bats (18,500) form the bulk of the collection, followed by primates (10,500).

Many primate skulls have been digitised using CT scanning techniques. Contact Emmanuel Gilissen for further information.

Mammalogy collections online:

Chief Scientists:
Emmanuel Gilissen
emmanuel.gilissen@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 56 22

Didier Van den Spiegel
didier.van.den.spiegel@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 54 11

 

Reptiles and amphibians

Our collections contain 41,000 reptiles and 200,000 amphibians (mostly specimens preserved in alcohol, but also skeletons and alizarin preparations). 

Main place of origin: DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Togo. 

The collection contains 182 taxa with primary types, 52 with secondary types, and 31 with an unspecified type. The authors of the majority of the type material are G.-F. de Witte and R. Laurent.

Herpetology collections online:

About 14,000 records (over 140,000 specimens) can be found on:

Chief Scientists:
Danny Meirte
danny.meirte@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 56 29

Didier Van den Spiegel
didier.van.den.spiegel@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 54 11

Collection manager:
Garin Cael
garin.cael@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 56 39

 

 

Invertebrates

Insects

The collection contains 6 million specimens. The majority of the insect orders found in Africa are represented.

Main place of origin: DR Congo, Burundi and Rwanda. For some groups, the entire Afrotropical region is covered.

Taxon lists are available for most groups.

The collection includes several historical and reference collections (including extensive holdings of types) such as: 

  • specimens obtained through research conducted in the national parks of Virunga, Garamba and Upemba in the DR Congo
  • the Carabidae collection of P. Basilewsky
  • the ants from the Yangambi collection of Raignier-van Boven
  • the termite collection of A. Bouillon.

Online collections:

> Digitised specimens in 2D+ and 3D

> Lepidoptera type specimens

> Neuroptera collection database

Chief Scientist:
Didier Van den Spiegel
didier.van.den.spiegel@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 54 11

Collection Managers:

Stéphane Hanot
stephane.hanot@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 53 83

Alice Buset
alice.buset@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 53 74

 

 

Non-insects

Chief Scientist:
Didier Van den Spiegel
didier.van.den.spiegel@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 54 11

Collection Manager:
Christophe Allard
christophe.allard@africamuseum.be
+32 2 769 57 44