About Us

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Scarab beetles on pins

Welcome to the University of Minnesota Insect Collection!

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 4 million specimens. This total represents more than 2,100 primary types (individual name-bearing specimens), 46,000 secondary types, and over 53,000 described species of insects and related arthropods.

The collection is one of the largest university-affiliated insect collections in North America (Cobb et. al. 2019, http://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.8086). Enhancing the collection's status are 4 resident taxonomists, computerized inventory management and Specify 6 databases, the large and historically affiliated Natural Resources Library, and access to molecular laboratories. 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.

Curatorial activities in the collection are currently supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Entomology, and numerous donors.

Help support our mission to discover, describe, and preserve the remarkable diversity of Minnesota's and the world's insects.

Donate to the Insect Museum Fund