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Malacology (from the Greek μαλακός malakos , 'soft') is a traditional name for the field of research on molluscs ( molluscs ). In Germany today, the term malacoology ( molluscology ) is almost synonymous .

Malacology and Conchology

The area of ​​malacology that was specifically concerned with studying the shells of molluscs is conchology . The shells of molluscs represent an important cultural-historical aspect, as the shells of the molluscs have been and continue to be used many times, e.g. B. as jewelry, currency and in geology as key fossils .

History and people

Early mollusc assemblies have been around since the 18th century. In 1794, Georg Gustav Detharding (1765–1838) published a compilation of the molluscs of Mecklenburg.

The following is a list of important (former) malacologists from German-speaking countries:

Societies and magazines

Malacological societies were founded in the 19th century, including the German Malacological Society (DMG, today the German Malacozoological Society ) as early as 1868 ; it has about 250 members. The American Malacological Society was founded in 1931. The following is a selection of malacological and conchological societies :

  • American Malacological Society
  • Belgian Association for Conchyliology
  • Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Conchologists of America
  • Eesti Malakoloogia Ühing (Estonian Malacological Association)
  • European Quaternary Malacologists
  • Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society
  • German Malacoological Society
  • Società Italiana di Malacologia
  • Malacological Society of Australasia
  • Malacological Society of London
  • Malacological Society of the Philippines Inc.
  • Nederlandse Malacologische Vereniging (Dutch Malacological Association)
  • Sociedad Española de Malacología
  • Société Belge de Malacologie
  • Stowarzyszenie Malakologów Polskich (Association of Polish Malacologists)
  • Western Society of Malacologists

Many societies publish scientific journals in the field of malacology; sometimes there are more regional information publications, sometimes also internationally respected journals. Important malacological journals :

  • American Malacological Bulletin
  • Archive for molluscology . Journal was founded in 1868 and is the news paper of the German Malakozool Society. The first three years can be viewed here.
  • Basteria
  • Fish & Shellfish Immunology
  • Folia Malacologica
  • Journal of Conchology
  • Journal of Medical and Applied Malacology
  • Journal of Molluscan Studies
  • Malacologia
  • Malacological Review
  • Mollusca
  • Molluscan Research
  • The Nautilus
  • The Veliger
  • Venus (Japanese Journal of Malacology)
  • Vita Marina

Malacology today

Malacological Museum in Makarska , Croatia (entrance)

Many institutions and societies as well as volunteer researchers still refer to themselves as representatives of malacology or malacozoology. The term is often replaced by molluscology or mollusc research. University and museum scientists who deal with molluscs, on the other hand, often call themselves zoologists, systematists, palaeontologists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, neurobiologists or marine biologists, depending on their orientation, focus and methodology of their occupation.

In addition to basic research, malacology is also devoted to practical issues (applied malacology), for example in agriculture, where snails can act as plant pests, and in medicine, where they act as intermediate hosts for human pathogens ( schistosomiasis ) and can cause deadly dangers from poisons ( cone snails ) .

Significant research facilities, each with several scientists and some with significant collections of malacological orientations, can be found at several locations in German-speaking countries, especially at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin , at the University of Munich and the Bavarian State Collection, at the Senckenberg Museum and at the universities of Frankfurt a. M., Gießen, Hamburg and Basel. In northern Germany, the House of Nature in Cismar , Ostholstein , deserves a special mention.

The most important Austrian mollusc collection is at the Natural History Museum in Vienna .

See also


  • D. Heppel: The long dawn of Malacology: a brief history of malacology from prehistory to the year 1800 . Archives of Natural History 22: 301-319 (1995).
  • K. Götting: Malakozoology. Molluscology floor plan . G. Fischer, Stuttgart 1974
  • Maria Mizzaro-Wimmer , Luitfried Salvini-Plawen , Hans Kothbauer, Ferdinand Starmühlner: Practical Malacology . Contributions to the comparative anatomical treatment of the molluscs: Caudofoveata to Gastropoda- "Streptoneura". Springer, Vienna / New York 2001, ISBN 3-211-83652-7 .

Web links

Wikisource: Malacology  - Sources and full texts
Wiktionary: Malacology  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Malacology  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Systematic directory of the Mecklenburg Conchylia . Bärensprung, Schwerin 1794 (Foreword and editor Adolph Christian Siemssen)
  2. Wilhelm Kobelt in a list of German malacologists ( Memento of the original from March 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at (accessed on November 3, 2011) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ Oxford Journals - Science & Mathematics - Journal of Molluscan Studies . In: .
  5. Mollusca Journal - 2007 to 2009 - The Last Issue - Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden . In: .
  6. ^ Molluscan Research - home . In: .
  7. ^ The Nautilus Online . In: .
  9. Links to museums and institutes . In: .