Echinococcus multilocularis, historical Leuckart collection, Senckenberg, photo Bless/Mecke
Echinococcus multilocularis, historical Leuckart collection, Senckenberg Dresden, photo Lisa Bless / Sven Mecke

Museum of Zoology

Evertebrata Varia

The collections range from protozoans (Foraminifera) to more highly evolved worms (Annelids). Research activities contribute to the Senckenberg Research Field Biodiversity and Systematics.

As a parasitologist I am interested in all types of parasites …. 
starting with intracellular protozoic parasites through to parasitic arthropods (e.g. Ticks) … and their hosts!

There are some objects from Rudolph Leuckart’s ‘lost’ collections (parasites and marine species). In 1869 Leuckart was called to the University of Leipzig as a professor, where he built a Mecca for parasitology until 1880.
Mecke, S., Mader, F., Bleß, L. & Ernst, R. (2020). Die “verschollene” Sammlung des Zoologen Rudolf Leuckart. Natur im Museum 10 /2020

I was biomonitoring the endangered species Hirudo medicinalis (European medicinal leech) in Saxony/Germany for one thing and for another thing I’m taking part in a mapping project to investigate the mosquito populations of Germany, with focus on invasive species that might spread diseases.  

Non-parasitic – but extraordinar – invertebrate species also can arouse my interest …

2012 – 2013 – 2014 …
As a co-worker of an the well known Onychophora research project directed by Dr. Georg Mayer, University of Leipzig and the most notably Ivo de Sena Oliveira, Andreas Weck-Heimann was able to focus on the disregarded morphological diversity of velvet worms (Onychophora) by use of the scanning electron microscope ZEISS EVO 50 in operation at the Senckenberg Institute in  Dresden since 2006 . 

In 2012 we identified a new species and genus from Costa Rica Principapillatus hitoyensis gen. et sp. nov. , Velvet Worm – Onychophora.

Publication: Oliveira IS, Franke FA, Hering S, Schaffer S, Rowell DM, Weck-Heimann A, Monge-Najera J, Morera-Brenes B, Mayer G (2012) Unexplored Character Diversity in Onychophora (Velvet Worms): A Comparative Study of Three Peripatid Species. PLoSONE 7: 12.

And here comes next new Velvet Worm from Vietnam in 2013 …

Publication: Oliveira IS, Schaffer S, Kvartalnov PV, Galoyan, EA, Palko IV, Weck-Heimann A,, Geissler P, Ruhberg H, Mayer G (2013) A new species of Eoperipatus (Onychophora) from Vietnam reveals novel morphological characters for the South-East Asian Peripatidae; Zoologischer Anzeiger – A Journal of Comparative Zoology, Available online 8 February 2013

Another new Onychophora species has been described in 2014

Publication: Oliveira IS, Lacorte G, Weck-Heimann A, Cordeiro L M, Wieloch A, Mayer G (2014) A new and critically endangered species and genus of Onychophora (Peripatidae) from the Brazilian savannah – a vulnerable biodiversity hotspot. Systematics and Biodiversity, (12/11/2014, 1-23) 


A new Citizen Science area was opened between 2016 and the end of 2018.

For three projects, stimulated by the funding program “Kultur macht stark!” (Culture makes you strong!) of the BMBF, were presented as part of “Museum macht stark!” Funding has been raised through the German Museum Association, with which children and young people have been given an insight into the work of the natural history museums.
In the “DinoCubus” and “ZeitCubus” projects, children and young people were able to use the open software platform “Mindcraft” to design a new natural history museum and explore the zoological collections in Dresden and Görlitz. In the project “MonsterSlam – the Natural History Grusical” children and young people were able to empathize with the diversity of life in a theatrical way. A total of around € 35,000 in third-party funding was raised for these projects.