Welcome to the Department of Entomology! Insects and arachnids (spiders and their kin) account for more than four-fifths of the described species in the world. These web pages have been created to provide more information about the collection, departmental staff, and on-line resources. As you search through these pages, we hope that you will sense some of the same excitement that we experience working with these colorful and fascinating creatures.
Philippine Islands Biodiversity Project
Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin
The collection of the California Academy of Sciences is one of the four largest entomology collections in North America. It contains about 10,000,000 curated specimens, representing all orders, nearly all families, and approximately 250,000 species of insects, myriapods, and arachnids.
How do I become a volunteer?
What are the sources of the collection?
The collection has developed and continues to grow through the acquisition of materials from diverse sources. Historically, field studies and expeditions by staff researchers have served as the primary source of materials for growth of the collection. About 50% of the entire collection of accessioned and unaccessioned specimens has been acquired through collections by staff. Especially during the past decade, donations from external sources have become a major component of collection growth. The acquisition of so-called "orphaned collections" has also contributed to collection growth. Fewer, yet significant, materials are also acquired through exchanges, direct purchases, and the financing of fieldwork by non-staff collectors and researchers, who obtain material for the collection in exchange for partial field support. During the period 1989-1993, more than 564,000 new specimens were accessioned into the collection. Of these, about 50% were additions by staff, the other 50% from other sources.
Where can I find job opportunities?
Please visit the Employment website for job announcements.
Can you ID this insect?
Please contact the Naturalist Center at Naturalist@calacademy.org, and attach a photo and short description.
How do I donate specimens?
The Department has received tens of thousands of donations from over a thousand sources during its history. Control of collection growth from this source, even in keeping with a clearly defined acquisition policy, and the allocation of resources to processing these incoming materials is our most difficult collection management challenge. Please contact Senior Collections Manager Norm Penny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact the Department
Academy Research News
The Summer Systematics Institute is an 8 week research internship that hands-on, collections-based undergraduate research experience at the California Academy of Sciences.
The Research Division of the California Academy of Sciences conducted an ambitious and highly successful expedition to the Philippines in May and June of 2011.