The field of Entomology, including insect identification and classification, is so broad that no one person can know everything. In order to gain a depth of knowledge it is necessary to concentrate attention on one small part of the overall field and devote years of study to this focal area. We rely on the aggregate knowledge of many specialists to form an image of diversity and interactions within our rich biosphere. Here at the California Academy of Sciences there are several specialists who wish to provide more in-depth information for inquisitive entomologists and naturalists to use in investigating the marvelous world around.


  • 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, 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

  • How do I become a volunteer?

    Please visit the Volunteer website and contact the Volunteer Department at or (415) 379-5111.

  • 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.

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