The spider species from Australia and Southeast-Asia (> 800 species) were originally described in the 19th century by arachnologists L. Koch und E. von Keyserling. They are amongst the first spiders to be described from these biogeographic regions and an invaluable source for faunistic and taxonomic research in this part of the world. These collections originally belonged to the Museum Godeffroy, a former private museum in Hamburg that was demolished in 1885. Most specimens from this collection were transferred to subway shafts shortly before the Zoological Museum in Hamburg was destroyed in the World War II and have survived in excellent condition. The scorpion and millipede collections today are amongst the largest in the world and essential for taxonomic research on these groups. Both collections are extremely rich in type material and frequently consulted by scientists from all over the world.
Overall, the collection contains material from the pioneers of arachnological research such as Koch, Keyserling, Graf von Attems, Kraepelin, Silvestri, Tullgren, Pocock, but also renowned specialists such as Roewer, Verhoeff, Viets, Sellnick, Lukoschus, Schaarschmidt, Regenfuß, Rack, Krczal and Bartsch. The large slide collection of mites was established after the World War II because the original collection was destroyed in 1943. This is major achievement of one of the former curators, Gisela Rack, who was a major authority in mite research and grew this collection with passion and engagement. The collection of tardigrades was established by Dr. Hieronymus Dastych, one of the leading experts on this enigmatic animal group.