Physalia Physalis: One of Millions of Animal Species Worth Protecting

The Portuguese man o' war and the importance of biodiversity

By Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Building a "Wall of Biodiversity" (2007) by Hwa Ja Götz (MfN)Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

The rich colours and variation in shapes and species make the Biodiversity Wall at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin a highlight of the exhibitions.

The Biodiversity Wall (new gigapixel panorama) (2007-08)Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Approximately 3,000 mounted animals are displayed there...

The Biodiversity Wall (detail)Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

including a specimen ofPhysalia physalis (Portuguese man o'war) from the museum’s wet collection, one of the most common species of Siphonophorae.

The Biodiversity Wall (new gigapixel panorama) (2007-08)Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

The number of currently existing species is, of course, much higher and estimated to lie between 4 and 40 million.

About 1.8 million animal and plant species have so far been scientifically described, recorded and named. 

New species are constantly being discovered and documented, also at the newly established Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Discovery at Berlin’s natural history museum.

For each new species, a reference specimen must be deposited in a scientific collection so that researchers all over the world can look it up. The Museum für Naturkunde stores tens of thousands such reference specimens, known as type specimens, in its collections.

The exhibition “Evolution in Action” at the museum shows selected evolutionary mechanisms that explain phenotype and behaviour of plants and animals. Such examples include conundrums...

Males compete while females choseMuseum für Naturkunde Berlin

Why do peacocks have such beautiful feathers, but are barely able to fly with them?

Zebra by Carola Radke (MfN)Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Why do Zebras have stripes?

The Biodiversity Wall (new gigapixel panorama) (2007-08)Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

The Biodiversity Wall is one of the exhibition’s highlights, and through further study of biodiversity we come closer to answering questions like these – because we can only protect what we really know and value!

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