Invertebrate Zoology Research Guide

Welcome to the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives' Invertebrate Zoology Research Guide. This is a select list of freely-available resources for students, teachers, and researchers to learn about invertebrate zoology. Contact us with suggestions for additional resources or with questions. 

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 satellite Smithsonian 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 Research Guide: Includes resources from the National Museum of Natural History and its libraries, links to other museums and libraries, and directories and databases related to biodiversity.​
  • 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 Organism 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.
Last Updated March 30, 2021