About the Crustacea Department | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

Featured here is Paralomis verrilli more commonly known as the king crab. Despite assumptions, these crabs are not true crabs, rather they are from the suborder Anomura. These animals only have eight visible legs as opposed to the ten true crabs have.
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Contact Information

Dr. Joel (Jody) Martin, Curator of Crustacea & Division Chief DIS

Adam Wall, Collections Manager

Museum Scientists on Evolution

The Natural History Museum, with its mission to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility, recognizes that evolutionary biology is fundamental to understanding biological diversity and is critical for both scientific research and museums. The Museum welcomes people of all beliefs and backgrounds to join us as we explore, through science, the wonders of the natural world.

To see our Evolution Statement in full, click here


Crustacea Department

The Museum's collections of Crustacea are the second largest in the United States and the fourth largest in the world. We house an estimated 140,000 "lots" of crustaceans (a "lot" is a single container, which could be a small vial or a large jar, and each lot may contain one to several hundred, or even several thousand, individual specimens). We estimate that our Crustacea Collections currently contain four to five million individual specimens. Historically, the geographical emphasis and strength of this collection has been the Eastern Pacific, and the collection is the largest in the world for that region.

Our collections are also worldwide in scope with broad representation from the Indian, Pacific, and Antarctic oceans, as well as the Caribbean Sea. Included are marine, freshwater, and terrestrial species. Ongoing exchange programs with other natural history museums around the world help us build the depth and breadth of the collection. The Crustacea Department maintains these priceless collections, continues to add to them as part of our ongoing research programs, and conducts basic research that benefits the Museum's educational and exhibit programs as well as the public.