The majority of the spider collection dates back to the years between 1900 and 1950. The collection focuses on the spiders of Central Europe and the specimens gathered on some expeditions in the last century. The collection comprises around 2,800 species with 200,000 objects and more than 1000 type specimens.
The spider collection mostly goes back to the work of the leading spider researcher Ehrenfried Schenkel. Schenkel donated his entire private collection to the Natural History Museum Basel in 1949. In addition to what he had collected himself, he had also studied a lot of material from various expeditions and by doing so, obtained specimens for his own collection.
Other specimens come from travels by Fritz Sarasin and Jean Roux to New Caledonia (in 1910/1911), a museum expedition to the Himalayas in 1972 and collections by Willi Büttiker in Saudi Arabia (1970 – 1990). We also store the Elisabeth Bauchhenss collection, mainly from Germany.
Nowadays, we predominantly focus on Central European species. Our collection is growing first and foremost through the acceptance of reference collections from ecology projects. In our collection, there are also reference specimens of all spider species found in Switzerland.
Because of the scientific work by Ehrenfried Schenkel and the many specimens from earlier expeditions in areas that formerly had only been explored to a small extent, the spider collection with more than 1000 specimens comprises a relatively large number of type specimens.
The spiders are preserved in seventy per cent ethanol.