Malacology

Malacology

The 248,000 cataloged lots (6+ million specimens) are primarily from the Pacific Ocean and islands, with a few from Asia, North America, Europe and the Caribbean. About 180,000 lots (~4 million specimens,13,000 type lots) are from terrestrial and freshwater habitats and 68,000 (~2 million, 350 type lots) are marine.  

The following are the current Bishop Museum Malacology databases available on-line:

Hawaiian Terrestrial and Freshwater Snails Checklist (updated April 9, 2002 with 1373 records)

Nonmarine Samoan Snails and Slugs Project (updated July 1, 2001)

To request a collection visit, please fill out our Natural Sciences Collection Access and Use Request Form. For any loan or image requests, contact the malacology curator, Dr. Norine W. Yeung.

Hawaiian land snail biodiversity: Systematics, phylogenetics and conservation status of a vanishing fauna

The Hawaiian land snail fauna is arguably the most diverse in the world in relation to land area: >750 recognized species in only 13 families. Depending on the family, extinction estimates are 65 – 95%. We are using an integrative approach, using genetics and morphological tools, to identify species and assess their relationships and distribution to help better inform their conservation status and management. Check out our updates on our Hawaiian Land Snail Conservation Facebook Page.

Identification, assessment of establishment, and spread of invasive terrestrial molluscs in Hawaii

Hawaii has a growing number of established non-native molluscs species, many of which threaten native forests, are agricultural and horticultural pests, and serve as vectors of parasites. With collaborators from the University of Hawaii, US Department of Agriculture, Hawaii Invasive Species Council and Hawaii Department of Agriculture, we have and continue conduct the most comprehensive surveys and assessment of non-native snails in Hawaii. We are developing an on-line guide to these species and will be linked here soon.

Norine W. Yeung, Ph.D,
Malacology Curator
808-848-4118
norine@bishopmuseum.org

Jaynee R. Kim, MS
Non-Marine Malacology Collection Manager
808-848-4118
jaynee.kim@bishopmuseum.org

Regina “Regie” Kawamoto
Marine Malacology Collection Technician
808-847-8218
reginak@hawaii.edu

Research Affiliates:
Dr. Carl. C. Christensen
Dr. Daniel Chung
Dr. Robert H. Cowie
Fred Brook
John Slapcinsky
Dr. Ellen Strong

Cookeconcha hystricella, endemic to Oahu, critically endangered. Photo: Dylan Ressler
Laminella sanguinea, endemic to Oahu, critically endangered. Photo: Ken Hayes
Representative specimens within the Bishop Museum Malacology Collection
Auriculella turritella, endemic to Oahu, vulnerable. Photo: Norine Yeung

The Bishop Museum has one of the most comprehensive collection of Pacific island land snails in the world. The approximately 25,000 islands of the Pacific Ocean harbor more than 6,000 land snail species, most of which are only found on a single island or archipelago. Unfortunately, molluscs, particularly Pacific island land snails, have the highest recorded extinction rate of any major animal taxonomic group, making the Museum’s collection all the more important. This collection (6+ million specimens) includes representatives of many extinct, endangered, and threatened species and more than 300 undescribed species.

Molluscs represent the second most diverse group of animals among recognized species in the world. This incredibly diverse group of animals include cephalopoda (octopus, squid, cuttlefish), bivalvia (clams, oysters, geoducks), scaphopoda  (tusk shells), polyplacophora (chitons), and gastropoda (snails, nudibranchs, sea hares), many of which can be found in the Bishop Museum Malacology Collection. 

The first mollusc shells acquisition of the Bishop Museum was the Andrew Garrett Collection, purchased in 1894, and contains marine, land, and freshwater specimens. The subsequent history of the Malacology Collection is largely a history of numerous expeditions and field surveys throughout the Pacific and Indo-West Pacific Ocean, and of the acquisition of more than 30 major private collections, containing predominantly Pacific material. Many of these expeditions were led by Dr. Charles Montague Cooke, Jr., the first curator of the collection that established the department in 1907.

Most notable in the marine collection are the acquisitions between 1948 and 1963 of the D. D. Thaanum and D. B. Langford Collection, consisting of approximately 160,000 specimens from throughout the Pacific. In 2002, Bishop Museum acquired C. M. Burgess’s extensive collection of worldwide cowries and Dr. E. A. Kay gifted her extraordinary collection of molluscs along with her notes, photos, and literature collection to Bishop Museum in 2009.

Be a Part of Our Story

Celebrate the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific with a gift to Bishop Museum. As a partner in the Museum’s work, you can help to sustain vital collections, research, and knowledge, and inspire exploration and discovery with a tax-deductible donation.