Zoology in Munich

The ZSM building in Obermenzing has 26 storerooms with 5,100 square metres of storage space on two floors and 70 other rooms such as laboratories, workrooms, workshops, etc. There is a special focus on economical energy consumption, so the building was equipped with a heat pump from the very beginning.

Entomological collections

The comprehensive insect collections of the ZSM are divided into of six sections under the care of the respective curators: Beetles (Coleoptera), Diptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Butterflies (Lepidoptera) and Insecta varia.

12 million butterflies

The ZSM collection of butterflies and moths actually includes about 12,000,000 specimens, representing far more than 130,000 species, stored in more than 80,000 drawers.

GBOL III: Dark Taxa

The national DNA barcoding project "German Barcode of Life" at the ZSM is in its third term called "GBOL III: Dark Taxa". The ZSM is cooperating with research museums in Bonn and Stuttgart, as well as the University of Würzburg and the Entomological Society of Krefeld. With the help of DNA barcodes , previously unknown species, so-called "dark taxa", are now to be specifically tracked down in our native fauna.

Invertebrate collections

The invertebrate collections at the ZSM are divided into three sections and are looked after by the respective curators. In addition to the molluscs (Mollusca), these are the arthropods (Arthropoda varia) and the other invertebrates (Evertebrata varia), especially cnidarians (Cnidaria) and echinoderms (Echinodermata).


The molluscan collection houses an estimated 400,000 samples with approx. 2 million specimens collected from anywhere in the world during 200 years. Most samples refer to dry shells, but there is a rapidly growing “wet collection” of scientifically especially valuable, entire specimens stored in ethanol as well.

Vertebrate collections

The ZSM also has extensive, historical vertebrate collections. Four sections, Reptiles & Amphibians (Herpetology), Fishes (Ichthyology), Mammals (Mammalogy) and Birds (Ornithology) are looked after by the respective curators.

Italienische Barrenringelnatter in Bayern

Auch unter den bayerischen Reptilien finden Forscher manchmal Neues, wie diese bisher übersehene Schlangenart - eine besondere Form der Barrenringelnatter, die bisher nur aus den Südalpen bekannt war. Eine Population dieser genetischen Linie hat nach der letzten Eiszeit anscheinend die Alpen durchquert.

Bavarian State Collection for Zoology

The Bavarian State Collection for Zoology (ZSM) includes almost 22 million zoological objects and is therefore one of the largest natural history collections in the world. Many of the specimens have been collected by staff or other collectors during the 200 years history of the ZSM. We aim to protect the enormous biological information associated with each zoological object and make this data available to the scientific and general public.

News & Research Insights

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11. April 2024 | News
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22. March 2022 | Insights
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A Question of Tentacles? The Evolution of Snails in a New Light

29. October 2021 | Insights
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