The SA Museum cares for the Australian Helminthological Collection, the most significant assemblage of parasitic worms in Australia. This page provides details about the diversity of the collection, its importance and example parasites within it.
Examples of parasites are tapeworms, flukes, roundworms, spiny-headed worms, fleas, lice and ticks.
Most specimens in the Australian Helminthological Collection (AHC), stored permanently preserved on glass slides or specimens in alcohol, are derived from Australian native vertebrates, however much material is from domestic and zoo animals, and livestock. As studies of Australia’s marine environment expand and with expansion of aquaculture nationally, Helminths from our marine fauna, especially fishes, are increasing in the AHC. The collection is supported by an exceptional and extensive compilation of literature.
The AHC comprises approximately 40,000 registered lots with emphasis on parasitic worms from the Phyla: Nematoda or roundworms (~24,000 lots); Platyhelminthes or flatworms, including tapeworms or the cestodes (~8,600 lots) and flukes or the digeneans (~5,000 lots); Acanthocephala or spiny-headed worms (~1,400 lots). The collection incorporates ~1,100 holotypes, ~3,200 paratypes and ~36,000 voucher specimens.