Collection Data

Page Contents: Section | Significance | Background | Location & Dates | Taxonomic Contents | Documentation | Description of Collection | Collection Inventory | Collection Assets

James H. McLean Collection 1955–1999

Section Responsible for Processing



Collections made by former Malacology curator James H. McLean from 1955 through 1999 became the core of the current world-class mollusk collection at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC). Some of these collections were made by James whilst aboard R/V VELERO IV (1965), R/V SEARCHER (1971-1972), R/V HERO (1978), and R/V VANTUNA (1982).


James H. McLean, through NSF grant supported travel funds and donations from voulnteers and associates, was able to travel worldwide to collect specimens for the collection and research. Publications too numerous to note here have resulted from many of these collecting trips.

Collection Location and Dates

From 1955 through 1999, James H. McLean traveled throughout the world gathering research and collection specimens. These travels included Alaska, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Islas Galapagos, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Florida, South Carolina, South Africa, Russia, Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Madagascar, Reunion, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Philippines, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Netherlands, Germany, and Italy. Most collecting was done in intertidal and snorkel depths but some was done via dredging.

Taxonomic Contents

The James H. McLean collection is predominantly mollusks but he also collected numerous crustaceans, echinoderms, polychaetes, cnidarians, and fish for other sections of the NHMLAC. Within the molluscan material the emphasis was on marine gastropods but also includes bivalves, scaphopods, chitons, and cephalopods. Freshwater and terrestrial mollusks were occasionally collected as well.


Data for the James H. McLean collection is contained in note books and station data sheets housed in the Malacology Section of NHMLAC.

Description of Collection

The original fixative for much of this collection was 75%-95% ethanol and large lots were split between wet and dry preservation for the collection. Micro samples ("grundge") are fixed in 75% ethanol, washed with freshwater through stacked sieves, air dried, and picked for micro specimens. Most specimens are identified to the lowest taxonomic level. The collection is housed in the Malacology section of the NHMLAC on the third floor.

Collection Inventory

Over 900 station localities document the collections and over 13,000 specimens have been databased. Some material remains as unsorted and non-distributed in the collection.

Collection Assets

No collection assets available.

Curatorial Status (Click to view)