About the CMNH Insect Collection & Database :
The insect collection at CMNH contains an estimated 13 million specimens of which over 7 million are prepared, labeled and ready for study. The primary taxonomic strength is Lepidoptera and Coleoptera, but with strong collections in Diptera, Siphonaptera, Odonata, Heteroptera, Homoptera, and Hymenoptera. Geographic representation is worldwide, but with the most extensive coverage in North America, South America, the Caribbean region, and tropical Africa, but with major holdings from many other regions. The collection is growing rapidly with acquisition emphasizing lineages of special interest to staff (Tipulidae, Carabidae, and Macroheterocera) and from countries where staff or research associates have been actively collecting in recent years (Malawi, Cameroon, Ghana, Ecuador, Chile, Dominican Republic, Taiwan, and other places).
The Section of Invertebrate Zoology maintains resources for understanding the greatest radiation of life on earth, invertebrates. These resources include world-class specimen collections, an extensive library of periodicals, books, reprints, field notes, and correspondence files, and unique staff expertise on certain groups (Lepidoptera, Diptera, Coleoptera). Most specimens in the collection are in the Phylum Arthropoda, with greatest emphasis on insects, myriapods, and arachnids. Mollusks may be found in a separate Section of Mollusks. These collections augment studies by staff, but their greatest use for research is by hundreds of specialists worldwide where they constitute the basis for numerous scientific publications. These collections benefit present and future generations, and in their immensity comprise a public trust as a unique record of the natural world. The number of primary types exceeds 7,500 and most of those are Lepidoptera and Coleoptera.
The current online database only contains records from 2 surveys conducted by the CMNH Section of Invertebrate Zoology in the late 1990’s. Therefore, data are available only for northern Utah and northwestern Pennsylvania. Over a half million records are in the rapidly growing main database and all records will come on-line in 2007.
Suggestions for Using the Database
The database may be searched using any single keyword that is a continuous string of letters and/or numbers, in combination with menu selected taxonomic groups (as many levels as registered in database from Class on down) and geographical regions (countries, states or first order civil subdivisions, and counties or second level civil subdivisions). After keyboarding the keyword, register it by clicking the ADD button, and after setting regions and taxa as desired with drop-down menus, initiate the search by clicking the “SEARCH THE DATABASE” button. Hitting the ENTER key alone will not dependably initiate a search, and if the system delays, click on ‘New Search’ to start over.
The keyword/number searches the specimen record number, the identifier’s name, the reproductive stage (adult, pupa, larva, nymph, egg), all taxonomic fields from order to subspecies, geographical fields from country to county, and the collector(s) name. The keyword/number search does not reveal the contents of locality, elevation, latitude-longitude, and date fields (day, month, year), nor the authors of species names. It also does not reveal data in other hidden fields in the main insect database, including habitat, reproductive condition, depository, notes, and other specimen-specific comments.
A given search may locate records with a given keyword in different fields, i.e., a search for “mont” might gather records identified by Montgomery, from the state of Montana, and collected by Fremont. Keywords are not case-sensitive, and if spelling is uncertain, use just the string of letters for which there is more confidence as to correct spelling. For instance, if uncertain as to whether the correct spelling is Heliothus or Heliothis, enter just Helioth.
For specimens with collection data that are sensitive for reasons of conservation status, rarity, or other reasons, only the country and state information will be revealed on-line, and the message “SENSITIVE DATA – Contact curator in writing for further information” will replace fields for county, locality, coordinates, elevation, date, and collector(s) names. Further information about acquiring access to data for such records must be requested in writing (not by e-mail). See the IZ Home page for contact information.
Please address queries about on-line database operations to Webmaster James Fetzner at firstname.lastname@example.org; questions about acquiring or interpreting data obtained from this database should go to the Curator in Charge, John Rawlins, at email@example.com.