All major taxonomic groups are well represented in the collection, but several areas of particular merit further description.

1. Embiidina. Collection holdings (mainly the E.S. Ross collection) for this order are the largest and most diverse in the world, with about 1,000 species represnted (including at least 90% of described species, most represented by topotypic material and many by primary types, and hundreds of undescribed species). The collection includes about 300,000 specimens.

2. Thysanoptera. Principal holdings include the important D. Moulton collection, which contains about 25,000 slide mounted specimens, including hundreds of primary types, and another 10,000 specimens in alcohol.

3. Hemiptera/Homoptera. (red bug from research home) The main component of our holdings for this group is the E.P. Van Duzee collection, which alone includes 164,442 specimens. Representation is particularly strong for Pentatomidae (more than 23,000 specimens representing about 1,150 taxa) and Miridae (about 32,000 specimens representing more than 1,500 species). The I. La Rivers collection of Naucoridae is also an internationally important taxonomic resource.

4. Coleoptera. (Dave) Holdings for beetles in general are very rich, representing about 35% of the entire collection. Particular strengths include: Carabidae (more than 250,000 specimens, especially the Kavanaugh and E.C. Van Dyke collections); Hydradephaga and Hydrophilidae (about 160,000 specimens, mainly from the H.B. Leech collection); Scarabaeidae (about 200,000 specimens, including the L.W. Saylor (ca. 40,000 specimens) and E.R. Leach collections); Staphylinidae (more than 150,000 specimens, including the important A. Fenyes collection; Cantharoidea, especially the J.W. Green and K.M. Fender collections; Nitidulidae, especially the L.R. Gillogly collection (more than 25,000 specimens); Coccinellidae (about 65,000 specimens, including the W.H. Nutting, Jr. collection); Melyridae (about 30,000 specimens, especially the F.E. Blaisdell collection); Tenebrionidae (more than 180,000 specimens, especially the F.E. Blaisdell collection); Cerambycidae (more than 120,000 specimens); Chrysomelidae (more than 140,000 specimens)p and Curculionoidea (more than 125,000 specimens, including extensive material from J.L. Gressitt). Major additons to the general coleopteran holdings in past years include significant parts of or the entire collections of O. Bryant (180,000 specimens), J.L. Gressitt (125,000 specimens), F.C. Hadden (200,000 specimens, R. Hopping (97,000 specimens), A. Koebele (100,000 specimens[beetle portion only]), and E.C. Van Dyke (about 280,000 specimens).

5. Hymenoptera. (Wojciech, Brian) Representation of this order is particularly strong for the Aculeata, especially the Sphecidae. Identified holdings for that family include representatives of at least 3,900 described species (roughly 41% of the known fauna worldwide) and hundreds of additional, undescribed species.

6. Diptera. (Flies) represent the second largest component of the collection. Most significant holdings include:
Tabanidae (about 34,000 specimens, including more than 17,000 specimens from the C.B. Philip collection, representing more than 1,7000 species-group taxa [a publication is available on general collection holdings of Tabanidae]); Asilidae (more than 42,000 specimens, including nearly 27,500 specimens from the J. Wilcox collection, representing more than 950 Nearctic species alone); Platypezidae (more than 12,000 specimens, mainly from the E.L. Kessel collection); and Apioceridae (about 3,500 specimens).

7. Trichoptera. significant caddisfly holdings include the collection of D.G. Denning (about 28,000 specimens, mainly from western North America).

8. Lepidoptera. (butterfly) Important holdings for this order include the Hesperiidae (especially the C.D. MacNeill collection) and Pieridae (including the W. Hovanitz collection for this family). Major personal collections deposited in the departmental collection include those of T.W. Davies (especially 25,000 specimens from Papua New Guinea), E. Guedet (almost 10,000 geometrids), H.G. Real (more than 50,000 specimens, mainly ithomiids and heliconiids), and J.W. Tilden (about 30,000 specimens, mainly of western North American butterflies).

9. Scorpiones. Scorpion holdings are extensive, particularly strong for western North America, but with a significant worldwide component. Major personal collections acquired and incorporated into the departmental collection are those of S.C. Williams (about 35,000 specimens) and H.L. Stahnke (about 22,000 specimens).

10. Araneae. The collection of spiders is one of the most rapidly growing parts of the collection, again, worldwide in scope, with important materials from South America, Africa, and Australia. a recent major addition to the collection was materail from the W.B. Peck collection (about 60,000 specimens).

11. Insect fossils. (assassin spider – Hannah, Charles) The collection serves as the depository for fossil insect material collected at the mid-Tertiary Stewart Valley site, near Hawthorne, Nevada, by Dr. Harvey I. Scudder, a Research Associated of the department, and his colleagues. Several hundred specimens, beautifully preserved in fine-grained ("lithographic") limestone, have already been received.

Contact the Collections Manager

  • Norm Penny
  • Collections Manager
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • 55 Music Concourse Drive
  • San Francisco, CA 94118
  • 415-379-5320 (direct)