INHS Insect Collection

Holdings.  The INHS Insect Collection, which comprises ca. 7 million prepared specimens
as well as noninsect arthropods (e.g., arachnids and myriapods) and miscellaneous invertebrates (bryozoans), is one of the largest and oldest entomological collections in North America.  Specimen holdings emphasize the upper midwestern USA but are global in scope for certain groups, particularly Coleoptera, Collembola, Diptera, Hemiptera (Auchenorrhyncha), Hymenoptera (Apoidea), Lepidoptera, Plecoptera, Psocodea (Psocoptera + Phthiraptera), Thysanoptera and Trichoptera.  The collection contains significant historical holdings from Illinois dating to the mid-1800s, including >13,000 primary type specimens. 

Location.  The collection is housed on the second floor of the Natural Resources Building on the campus of the University of Illinois (rooms 285, 291 and 296). 

Access.  Access to the collection by qualified researchers, normally available from 8:30am-5pm M-F may be arranged by contacting the collection manager, Dr. Tommy McElrath or curator  Dr. Chris Dietrich

Specimen loans.  Specimen loans are available to qualified researchers. Loans are generally made for a period of one year, renewable upon request. Primary types are generally loaned for a period of three months from the date received by the borrower and are non-renewable. Holotypes, allotypes, and a major portion of the type series of each species described based on INHS specimens must be returned. Details of the collection policy may be seen here.

Acquisitions and maintenance.  In general, specimens will not be accessioned unless they have been properly curated and have data that includes at least the collection locality and date.  Standard methods of preserving, maintaining, and mounting specimens are followed.  Pest control procedures include the limited use of naphthalene, scheduled inspections of all drawers in the collection, fumigation/ freezing of all incoming pinned material, avoidance of food and water sources in the collection, and general housekeeping.

Database.  Label data for approximately 10% of the collection holdings are accessible via the INHS Insect Collection database portal or via the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) portal

Collection news.  For the latest news on the INHS insect collection, see our blog.