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SMA Sistema Museale di Ateneo


Italian Snails Conservation Project

Despite the fact that there have been long since lists of species to be protected, both internationally (Red List IUCN and Habitat Directive) and at a local level, there are few concrete actions implemented on species classified as vulnerable or in danger of extinction.

As far as Tuscany is concerned, a number of habitats and species to be protected, have been identified, including some terrestrial and freshwater molluscs such as Melanopsis etrusca and Xerosecta righteous.

The project envisages several actions that will cover field studies to collect more data on the biology of the two species; studies on the genetic variability of remaining populations; protection programs and actions to improve the conditions of the habitats in which the two species live; start-up of ex-situ farms for the creation of essential biological banks for species at risk of extinction; education and awareness-raising events involving the community; development of plans for the promotion of sustainable and environmentally conscious tourism and for the valorisation of the areas involved.

The Museum of Natural History will direct and coordinate the project with Simone Cianfanelli (curator of the section of continental molluscs) in charge of the project and Lorenzo Cecchi (herbarium curator) who will help him with regard to the botanical part. Gianluca Stasolla, a conservation expert, will participate through a research grant provided by the Museum and financed by the non-profit organisation Friend of the Earth.

Learn more about the little endemic Tuscan snails and the project in this video


Palawan Mission: Puerto Princesa Underground River Cave project

Our Museum is studying the biology of one of the most beautiful caves in the world!

Our zoologists have taken part in a challenging exploratory expedition in the Philippines.

Purpose of the mission: to study the rich fauna of the "Puerto Princesa Underground River Cave" to assess the impact of a growing tourist flow on the cave and to develop an appropriate management plan to ensure the conservation of this important worldwide biodiversity heritage.

Paolo Agnelli and Stefano Vanni are our two biospeleologists who from 19 November to 1 December 2017 conducted a first investigative expedition to study the species of bats, swallows and snakes that populate this huge cavity extending for over 30 kilometers in the belly of a limestone mountain in the province of Palawan.

The study, which will also deal with complex animal relations within the cave ecosystem, also includes the collection of spiders, scorpions, Scolopendra, crustaceans and many other invertebrates populating the darkness of the cave, which will be studied thanks to the support of our entomologists and the rich network of specialists that gravitates around our Museum.

During the mission, Paolo Agnelli and Stefano Vanni also held a course on biospeleology directed to the staff of the Park and participated in a documentary produced by “One Planet”.

Watch the video of the expedition.


Network of Italian Museums (Rete Musei Italiani)

A project born to promote the museological heritage of Italian universities.

The University of Florence has signed an agreement with the universities of: Bari, Cagliari, Chieti-Pescara, Ferrara, Modena-Reggio Emilia, Parma, Perugia, Rome “La Sapienza”, Salento, Siena e Tuscia and the project, which has a duration of 2 years, has received a grant of € 700.000 from the Ministry of Education.

The purpose of the project is to create or increase the catalogue databases of the university museums collections and make them accessible to the public. All work is performed in collaboration with ICCD (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione) and will abide by the national cataloguing standards.

Coordinator: Elena Corradini, elena.corradini(AT)

Project manager at the University of Florence:
Giovanni Pratesi

Project members at the University of Florence:

– Section of Chemistry of the Museum of Natural History: Antonio Guarna -  Laura Colli  laura.colli(AT)

– Section of Biomedical Sciences of the Museum of Natural History: Gabriella NesiAnnarita Franza


Bat Box: meet our bat friends

To help preserve this extraordinary animal group, zoologists at the Museum of Natural History of Florence, with the collaboration of Coop-Italia, have developed a project for the spread of the Bat Box, small wooden houses that offer new shelters to these efficient insect predators.

Our Bat Box is designed to attract bats in urban environments and can be hung on the outside wall of the house, better if in a sheltered part under the roof gutter. When these shelters are colonized we will have an extraordinary insect predator as our ally.

There is a wide array of Bat Boxes on the internet these days. After the roaring success of our project, many have followed our example.

To help you choose the best Bat Box we recommend you look at the following parameters: the "home" must be large enough (at least 30x60 cm), made of fairly thick wood (at least 1.5 cm), well assembled (without drafts) and not treated with fungicides or nitro paints.

To install the Box you can follow our instructions (pdf), matured in 9 years of bat-experimentation.

last update: 30-Jan-2018
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