Insect collections

Insect collections

Pinned insect specimens and spirit preserved samples from biodiversity advisory surveys. Used for education, reference and scientific research.

Part of the Natural History collection 

British insects

The British insect collections are a comprehensive reference resource for all major insect groups. They contain much contemporary material and are rich in biological data which supports and underpins current wildlife conservation and biodiversity research. Areas particularly worthy of note are:

Coleoptera (beetles)

Total holding of ca. 103,000 specimens, representing 87% of the British fauna. This includes, among others, two of the most comprehensive assembled in the 20th century (C. MacKechnie Jarvis and B.S. Williams).  

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)

British species are well represented, with ca. 50,000 specimens of British micro-Lepidoptera and ca. 120,000 British macro-Lepidoptera. 

Hymenoptera: (bees, wasps, ants, and sawflies)

The British aculeate collection consists of around 30,000 specimens, representing 83% of the British fauna. It is rich in modern material and notable collections include those of M. Edwards, G. Dicker and C. Clee.

Symphyta (sawflies) and Ichneumonoid wasps are currently major growth areas within the collections. There are around 15,000 sawfly specimens, with just under 70% coverage of British species. Much of the collection results from contemporary work by G. Knight in North-west England and Wales. Representation of ichneumonoid wasps is much lower reflecting the general neglect of this group by entomologists’ but, modern data rich material is being added.

Diptera (two-winged flies)

Approximately 50,000 British specimens representing ca. 2,500 species. Groups such as Tipulidae (craneflies), Mycetophilidae (fungus gnats), Syrphidae (hoverflies) and Larger Brachycera (soldierflies and their allies) are especially well represented. Recent acquisitions, notably the modern collections of R. Crossley and R. Underwood, continue to expand their coverage.

Hemiptera (true bugs and hoppers)

Extensive (96%) coverage of British frog and leaf hoppers and (93%) British heteropteran bugs, including immature stages. Notable collections are those of W.J. LeQuesne and S. Judd.  

Trichoptera (caddis flies)

(ca. 40,000 specimens) including extensive collections of immature stages (I.D. Wallace collection) are internationally important and underpin recent taxonomic, distributional and conservation research.