Royal BC Museum - Invertebrates Collection

Latest version published by Royal British Columbia Museum on Feb 26, 2021 Royal British Columbia Museum

The Invertebrate Zoology collection of the Royal BC Museum comprises over 65, 000 lots of specimens, including more than 400 type specimens that have been referenced in original species descriptions. A lot may contain a single specimen, or it may consist of multiple individuals from a single sampling event. The collection has been acquired from various sources including research acquisitions, donations, and geographic/ecological surveys. The collection is phylogenetically broad in scope, containing representatives of at least 24 of the approximately 34 phyla of living invertebrate animals (excluding insects and most terrestrial arthropods), with a geographical focus on British Columbia, but which does not exclude comparative specimens from all continents and all oceans. The collection includes wet (fluid preserved) and dry specimens, whole mounted and histologically sectioned specimens on microscope slides, as well as frozen tissue samples. Geographical strengths include Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), and southern mainland areas. Marine environments, particularly coastal habitats, are also well represented, and the collection’s rich diversity of marine fauna largely reflects the biological diversity of BC’s marine ecosystems. British Columbia’s invertebrate zoology collection is significant collection as it is the only province in Canada which intersects the Pacific Ocean. Taxonomically, the collection is relatively diverse, although there remain areas of opportunity to increase this diversity. Molluscs (chitons, clams, snails, octopods and squid), arthropods (crabs, shrimps, and micro-crustaceans), annelids (worms), and echinoderms (sea stars, brittle stars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers) are well-represented. Collectively, these groups make up more than 90% of the collection. Other less-dominant groups, such as cnidarians and bryozoans, are also relatively well represented but would benefit from increased study.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 64,818 records. 1 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

  • Occurrence (core)
  • ExtendedMeasurementOrFact 

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 64,818 records in English (5 MB) - Update frequency: irregular
Metadata as an EML file download in English (7 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (7 KB)


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Wheeler E (2018): Royal BC Museum - Invertebrates Collection. v1.2. Royal British Columbia Museum. Dataset/Occurrence.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Royal British Columbia Museum. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 34fbcf59-d9bb-47e7-9672-99e13ea8c736.  Royal British Columbia Museum publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Canadensys.


Occurrence; Specimen


Who created the resource:

Erica Wheeler
Head of Collections, Care and Conservation
Royal British Columbia Museum 675 Belleville Street V8W 9W2 Victoria British Columbia CA

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Heidi Gartner
Collection Manager and Researcher, Invertebrates
Royal British Columbia Museum 675 Belleville Street V8W 9W2 Victoria British Columbia CA

Who filled in the metadata:

Hugh McIntosh
Collections Manager, Natural History Data
Royal British Columbia Museum 675 Belleville Street V8W 9W2 Victoria British Columbia CA

Geographic Coverage

RBCM collections include specimens from around the world, but primarily focus on British Columbia and surrounding areas

Bounding Coordinates South West [-90, -180], North East [90, -180]

Additional Metadata

Alternative Identifiers doi:10.5886/zh7n1e