Welcome to the University of Minnesota Insect Collection (UMSP)!
Contributions to the collection began in 1879 with specimens of insects and spiders from the North Shore of Lake Superior. Over the past 130+ years, the collection's holdings have grown from a regional reference resource of approximately 3,000 specimens to a major national and international resource of more than 3.8 million specimens. As of December 2013, the collection was censused at 3,826,087 curated specimens. This total currently represents 2,120 primary types (individual name-bearing specimens), 46,453 secondary types, and a total of 50,582 described species of insects and related arthropods.
The collection is one of the largest university-affiliated insect collections in North America. Enhancing the collection's status are 6 resident systematists, computerized inventory management and specimen databases, the large and historically affiliated Natural Resources Library, and a molecular systematics laboratory. Research projects associated with the collection have broad taxonomic and geographic scope. Faculty and graduate student research focuses on both aquatic and terrestrial insect groups and includes taxonomic, phylogenetic, and applied questions. The collection is the mainstay of graduate training in systematic entomology at the University of Minnesota.
This website serves as the entry to interacting with the more than 3.8 million specimens retained in the University of Minnesota Insect Collection. This resource was made possible, in part by two National Science Foundation (NSF) grants awarded to UMSP for digitization, mobilization, and discovery of insect biodiversity retained in the collection: NSF DBI-1132188 and NSF EF-1114845. The ongoing support of the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (AES), as well as that of the Department of Entomology, is likewise gratefully acknowledged.
Help support our mission to discover, describe, and preserve the remarkable diversity of Minnesota's and the world's insects. Click here to donate to the Insect Museum Fund.