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
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.
+32 2 769 5639
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.
+32 2 769 5633
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:
- Digitised specimens in 2D+ and 3D
- Type specimens of birds in the RMCA (holotypes and syntypes)
- Birds from the Albertine Rift
- Afrotropical Birds LifeDesk
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:
- Digitised specimens in 2D+ and 3D
- 3D model of the bonobo type specimen (Pan paniscus)
- Rodent specimens (from the RMCA, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and the University of Antwerp)
- Bat specimens (from the RMCA and other museums)
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:
+32 2 769 56 39
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.
+32 2 769 53 83
- Acari: 3,200 species preserved as:
- 28,400 microscopic preparations (Acaridida, Actinedida, Mesostigmata, Ixodida)
- 4,000 tubes (Oribatida, Ixodida)
> Acari collection database
> Tydeoidea from Africa
- Arachnomorpha (non-Acari): 360,000 specimens, 4,000 identified species, the majority in alcohol
> Arachnomorpha collection database
- Coelentera: 2,410 lots of specimens, 538 species
> Coelentera collection database
- Crustacea: 58,000 lots of specimens, 5,500 identified species, the majority in alcohol
> Crustacea collection database
- Echinodermata and other groups of marine animals: more than 500 species
> Echinodermata collection database
- Mollusca: 20,000 lots of specimens, 5,500 species, dry material and in alcohol
> Mollusca collection database
- Myriapoda: 21,000 lots of specimens, 4,000 identified species, the majority in alcohol
> Myriapoda collection database
- Vermes: 36,000 specimens, 1,300 identified species, in alcohol and microscopic preparations
- Other groups of invertebrates: 20,000 specimens, 500 species
+32 2 769 57 44