Invertebrate Zoology Subject Guide

Welcome to the Smithsonian Libraries Invertebrate Zoology Subject Guide. This is a select list of freely-available resources for students and teachers  to learn about invertebrate zoology. Please feel free to contact us at with suggestions for additional resources or with questions.  See links to specific guide categories below:

Smithsonian Resources

  • National Museum of Natural History Department of Invertebrate Zoology: Website for the Smithsonian division which works on all 30 major invertebrate animal groups(except insects) that provide information about Smithonsian research and collections.
  • Entomology and Invertebrate Zoology Libraries :  Three sattelite libraries for Entomology, Invertebrate Zoology, and Crustacea with a collection of around 29,000 volumes. The libraries focus on the taxonomy, morphology, ecology, evolution, biodiversity and comparative anatomy of invertebrates.
  • Natural History Subject Guide: General subject guide for the Natural History Library featuring links to all Natural History libraries and related subject guides within the Smithsonian.
  • No Bones: Blog from the Smithsonian Invertebrate Zoology department which chronicles the research, people, and achievements of the department.
  • The World of Copepods: Smithsonian site featuring basic information about the small crustaceans, as well as links to taxonomic, bibliographic, and specimin datasets.
  • Cerion: Database of location and taxanomy information about the small tropical Western Atlantic land snails of the family Cerionidae.
  • Index Animalium: Digital version of Charles David Sherborn's Index Animalium, a 9,000-page compendium of zoological taxonomic species nomenclature from 1758 to 1850.
  • Smithsonian Ocean Portal: Website collecting information about ocean life, ecosystems, and conservation, as well as providing details about current and former Smithsonian exhibits related to the ocean.
  • Science Teaching Resources (Life Sciences): Collection of Life Science related lessons, activities, literacy resources, and videos from the Department of Education at the National Museum of Natural History.
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System: Taxonomic database searchable by scientific and common names maintained through a partnership of U.S., Canadian, and Mexican federal agencies including the Smithsonian.
  • Databases for Science Research: List of science research databases from the Smithsonian Libraries. Many of the databases are free access, but others do require users to be onsite at a Smithsonian library or have Smithsonian network access.
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library: Online library featuring open access legacy literature from the Smithsonian Libraries and a consortium of other natural history and botanical libraries.
  • Encyclopedia of Life: Based on the idea of a webpage for every species, this multilingual resource provides multimedia information about a large subsection of life on earth.


  • Wormatlas: Database featuring behavioral and structural information about the often studied nematode C. elegans. It includes images, cell identification guides, and anatomical study methods.
  • WormBase: Database featuring biological and genetic information about the roundworm C. elegans and related nematodes.
  • WormImage: Browseable and searchable database of images of the C. elegans round worm.
  • Virtual Worm Project: Webapp that provides interactive views of the C. elegans nervous, reproductive, and muscular systems.

Other Invertebrates:

  • The Echinoid Directory: Directory of sea urchin taxonomy, morphology, and classification from the British Natural History Museum.
  • Biogeoinformatics of Hexacorals: Website featuring in-depth information about the biology and environment of hexacorals. It includes a searchable database with taxonomic, distributional, and environmental data.
  • Hardy's Internet Guide to Marine Gastropods: Website featuring lists of marine gastropods, and similar classes, Browseable by scientific and common names with many records including images.
  • Molluscabase: Taxonomy database for mollusks featuring synonym and environment information, as well as a Browseable taxonomy tree.
  • The Sponge Guide: Guide to over 230 species of sponges featuring species descriptions, morphology information, and images.
  • Tunicata: Browesable taxonomy and image gallery of the marine invertabrate subphylum Tunicata.

General Resources

  • Online Dictionary of Invertebrate Zoology: Downloadable version of the comprehensive dictionary written by Mary Ann (Basinger) Maggenti and Armand R. Maggenti and edited by Scott Lyell Gardner.
  • Animal Diversity Web: Database featuring specimens, images, and recordings of thousands of animal species from the University of Michigan.
  • Wikispecies: Crowd sourced directory of taxonomic information about living things. Typical entries include family, genus, species, subspecies, and multi-lingual vernacular names.
  • Index to Oranism Names: Searchable index of millions of scientific names, both fossil and current, from the scientific literature.
  • World Register of Marine Species: Comprehensive list of the names of marine species, including synonyms. The list is searchable via scientific and common names.
  • Ocean Biogeographic Information System: Database which includes species taxonomy information, ocean and country biodiversity datasets, and distribution data for marine life.
  • Census of Marine Life: Website for a ten year project to condeuct a census of marine life. The site includes visualizations and maps of the results, a Google Earth version of the census results, and links to many publications.
  • BIODIC: Collection of over 1600 biological electron micrographs ranging from scorpion stingers to birch pollen from the Université Libre de Bruxelles.