The collection of cnidarians, comprising about 80 000 lots, combines old specimens from all oceans. These specimens are preserved in either alcohol, dry, as slides, or in a separate herbaria for some hydroids and sea fans.
The oldest specimens (1706-1707) of Hydroids and Octocorallia of the collection are preserved in herbaria made by Sébastien Vaillant. The story is revealed on the label and recalls the big names such as Peron and Lesueur; Savigny; Jean-Baptiste Lamarck; Quoy and Gaimard; Valenciennes; and H. Milne-Edwards and Haime. Generations of scientists have enriched the collection, thanks to naturalist expeditions like that of Egypt (1800-1804), Baudin on the western coast of Australia, the Astrolabe (1837-1840), and the two French Antarctic expeditions in early twentieth century. For forty years, various campaigns in the Atlantic (Thalassa, Biogas ...), the sub-Antarctic (on the Marion Dufresne), the Indo-Pacific (program MUSORSTOM / Deep-Sea Benthos), and the great expeditions (Santo, Vanuatu 2006, Guadeloupe 2012) made for the "Planet revisited" program, enriched the collection. Scientists donate collections made throughout their careers, as is the case of the collections of G. Faure, J. Laborel, M. Pichon, B. Salvat, H. Zibrowius ... Specimens sampled by J. Goy in the Mediterranean, Brazil, and Australia expanded the collection of Jellyfish.