Shell collecting had been Angas’s childhood hobby, and later in his career he would become a renowned conchologist. More than 250 marine and land shell species were named by him, or after him. He collected shells during his 1844 to 1845 journeys, including several new species which required further analysis. This explains their absence in South Australia Illustrated, which does include his watercolour drawings of botanical specimens and insects, collected in the field or lent to him by Adelaide-based naturalists.
Back in London, several of Angas’s shell specimens were found to be new to science. Even in his landscapes his attention to detail did not desert him, and individual plant species are readily recognisable. During 1844 he also documented a ‘new’ species of kangaroo and made the first scientific drawing of an Australian sea lion. It was ideal preparation for his later role as Secretary of the Australian Museum.