Collection - arachnids and myriapods
This collection comprises the most basal and ancient lineages of arthropods. It includes the arachnids (spiders and allies) and myriapods (centipedes and millipedes) but also some lesser-known groups such as the velvet worms (Onychophora), water bears (Tardigrada), tongue worms (Pentastomida), horseshoe crabs (Xiphosura) and sea spiders (Pycnogonida). Both marine and terrestrial arthropods are curated in this collection.
Overall there are more than 1.000.000 objects representing more than 9.000 species of arthropods from all over the world. There are more than 3.500 type specimens from which the species were originally described. Most specimens are part of the wet collection and stored in roughly 19.000 collection jars with ethanol as a preservative. There is also a significant dry collection comprising more than 37.000 microscope slides of micro-arthropods. The relative number of species per group is as follows: water bears (Tardigrada: 208 species), velvet worms (Onychophora: 21), horseshoe crabs (Xiphosura: 4), sea spiders (Pycnogonida: 109), scorpions (Scorpiones: 452), spiders (Araneae: 2.100), whip scorpions (Thelyphonida: 30), schizomids (Schizomida: 8), whip spiders (Amblypygi: 23), pseudoscorpions (Pseudoscorpiones: 153), harvestmen (Opiliones: 329), camel spiders (Solifugae: 153), palpigrades (Palpigradi: 2), ricinuleids (Ricinulei: 1), mites (Acari: 3.627), centipedes (Chilopoda: 409) and millipedes (Diplopoda: 1.060).
CeNak houses the third-largest arachnological collection in Germany. This collection is both world-renowned and scientifically relevant. For some of the curated groups (i.e. tardigrades, scorpions, spiders and mites) it is one of the most important reference collections and frequently consulted by specialists within Europe and overseas. This is primarily due to the prevalence of type material and the importance of some of the older specimens, with many of these being older than 150 years and described by pioneering zoologists.
Currently, several active research projects utilize the specimens in this collection. There are projects on mites, onychophorans, several groups of spiders, and pseudoscorpions. Besides the rather classic approaches of systematic and taxonomic work on the curated groups - the description of species and the analysis of phylogenetic relationships - there are projects on comparative phylogeography, functional morphology, molecular evolution and conservation biology. Field excursions as part of the current projects are being used to grow an enhance the collection.