Insects Collections Database

Welcome to the Zoology Department Arthropod Collections


Starting September 15, 2010, the Field Museum of Natural History's Division of Insects collection rooms will be CLOSED.

This is to allow installation of compactors and cabinets and renovation of research labs.

The Field Museum of Natural History's Division of Insects is preparing for extensive research laboratory and collection renovations, which will integrate and compactorize its entire pinned collection in one collection room over the next several months.

From now until May 1, 2011, please:

  • contact us before scheduling any visits to determine whether we can accommodate you and
  • postpone all new loan requests and specimen return shipments.

If our reopening date becomes significantly earlier or later than that, we will circulate an update. Our newly renovated collection and research areas will better serve the entomological community and our training efforts by providing additional work space, better access to the collection and research facilities and enhanced long-term collection expansion space.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience during this construction phase. We apologize for the lack of advance notice, but we received short notice of the final approval of funding.


The Field Museum's Division of Insects houses worldwide collections of Arthropoda (excluding Crustacea) ranking fifth in overall size among North American collections. The collection currently includes approximately 4.1 million pinned insects and 7.3 million specimens or lots of insects and other arthropods in alcohol or on microscope slides. The collection receives heavy use by US and international visitors and borrowers. Several existing off-line collection databases are being converted into the museum's KE EMu collection management software and made newly available online here, and data will continue to be added. The data now or soon to be available are:

  • specimen catalogs of our bat flies, lice, Lepidoptera from the Strecker Collection, millipedes, scorpions, and types of other non-mite arachnids
  • species-level inventories with specimen counts of the beetle families Staphylinidae, Silphidae, Histeridae, Sphaeritidae, Synteliidae, Carabidae, and of Lepidoptera and Diptera;
  • species-level inventories with unit tray counts for other insect orders; and the
  • bulk sample collection.

Some of our collections, because of their size and scope, are represented by species-inventory data (taxa present, some with specimen counts and indication of types) rather than specimen-level label data. We are continually upgrading and adding to both kinds of data and will gladly receive corrections or updated classification details. More information about the data is provided on the base page for each of the collection segments listed, and more information on the collection itself is available through the Division of Insects.

The Quick Browse options on the right provide access to the following sets of our data:

  • All Arthropod Collections - The entire Division of Insects specimen and inventory database (including groups not listed below).
  • Lepidoptera - Specimen and inventory records for moths and butterflies.
  • Bulk samples - Collecting data for partly-sorted litter/soil and trap samples.
  • Coleoptera - Specimen and inventory records for beetles
  • Vertebrate Ectoparasites - Only the ectoparasites specimen records (lice, bat flies).
  • Arachnida & Myriapoda - Specimen records for spider and arachnid types (excluding acari), millipedes (collection completly databased), and centipede types.
Please take a few moments to fill in our user questionnaire.


Creation of the original databases was heavily supported by National Science Foundation grants, some of which are continuing to support data entry and/or database development: DEB-8814449, A. F. Newton & J. B. Kethley; DEB-8906825, A. F. Newton; DEB-9527968, A. F. Newton & M. K. Thayer; DEB-9712438, P. Sierwald & W. A. Shear; DEB-9702824, J. W. O. Ballard; DEB-0118749, M. K. Thayer & A. F. Newton; DEB-0529715, P. Sierwald et al.; DBI-0545051, C. W. Dick et al.; DEB-0515672 & DEB-0618503, J. D. Weckstein & J. M. Bates. Conversion of Insects' data to KE EMu was partially funded by NSF DBI-0545051 and by the Institute of Museum and Library Services' support for Common Ground, IMLS CM-00-05-0050-05.

We claim copyright to our data. The information is available ONLY for not-for-profit scientific use with the stipulation that FMNH be clearly identified as the source of the data. We request copies or reprints of publications that are based on our collections.

Citing this database: If you wish to refer to this database in a publication, use the following attribution: "Field Museum of Natural History (2006): The Arthropod Collections Database, Division of Insects, Zoology Department, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. http://emuweb.fieldmuseum.org/arthropod/Query.php"

Contact the collection manager for direct assistance related to Insects' data.

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