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Cephalopod Museum Curator

Mark Carnall

Blue Ring
Registered
Joined
Jun 28, 2016
Messages
40
Hello all I look after the zoology collections at Oxford University Museum of Natural History including all animals and of course cephalopods.

I've been a lurker for many years but felt keen to sign up after watching the full TONMO VI stream.

I'm keen on improving our knowledge of cephalopod in museums as there's no great global list even for type specimens! I'm also really shocked how small the cephalopod science community is which is why tentacles and arms often get confused in the media!
 

DWhatley

Kraken
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
20,951
:cuttlehi: @Mark Carnall. I have often looked for holotype descriptions and find only the describing taxonomist name and year described with no reference as to where to find the description. When there is an entry, tolweb.org has some excellent information and photos but the number of entries is extremely limited and those that do exist do not contain the holotype descriptions. I know it makes matters even more difficult when dealing with preserved octopuses because the dead animals do not retain color and often markings (like eyespots or skin patterns).

In spite of the frustrations, I envy your job :biggrin2:
 

Mark Carnall

Blue Ring
Registered
Joined
Jun 28, 2016
Messages
40
It's a sorry state and there aren't even that many of them! I wrote a blog post recently about citing museum specimens properly and I mention the type description of Loligo banksii as 'useless'.

There is a now out of date publications, Classification, Type Localities, and Type Repositories of Recent Cephalopoda by Sweeney and Roper from 1998. GBIF dtat is fairly good for the group though.

The real issue is the lack of expertise when it comes to this group and the (tens) of thousands of specimens which are in smaller museums.
 

Mark Carnall

Blue Ring
Registered
Joined
Jun 28, 2016
Messages
40
Yes they're great summaries although already need some updating. Nice illustrations. I tried to track down hard copy versions but they sell for hundreds/thousands of pounds!

PDFs will have to do.
 

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Messages
5,767
Hi Mark, and welcome to the site!
Glad you decided to lose your lurker status and join us.
And you really do have an interesting job.

Nancy
 

GPO87

Sepia elegans
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
836
I'm currently working through museum collections, and am finding many preserved cephs with vague names or descriptions, so I definitely feel your pain. Saw one yesterday which was called "Long skinny thing". At some point along the way, someone had figured out it was a squid and put it on the right shelf. :smile:
 

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