The Entomology Collection at the University of Colorado Museum contains approximately 550,000 insect and 50,000 arachnid specimens dating back to the 1870's. The strengths of these collections are the Lepidoptera (particularly butterflies), Hymenoptera (particularly bees), Coleoptera (beetles), and Araneae (spiders), Orthoptera (grasshoppers), and Homoptera (especially leafhoppers). The Entomology Collection is rich in material from the Rocky Mountain Region, but also contains specimens from throughout the United States and other parts of the world, including Mexico, Tunisia, and New Guinea.
This collection contains several groups of historically important material, including collections made by T.D.A. Cockerell, one of the Museum's founders; Hugo Rodeck, former Museum Director; M.T. James; C.J. McCoy; B. Vogel; and former curator, Url Lanham. There are also several important collections that have been donated or deposited in the Entomology Collection. These include collections by G. Alexander (Orthoptera), F.M. Brown (Lepidoptera, Diptera and Hymenoptera), W.N. Burdick (Lepidoptera), D. Eff (Lepidoptera), C.W. Hicks (Hymenoptera), T. Kincaid (Hymenoptera and other insects of the Pacific northwest), B. Rotger (Coleoptera and Lepidoptera), F.K. Smith (Coleoptera), R. Watkins (Lepidoptera), and T. Macior (bumblebees). There are also several important voucher collections deposited here, assembled from research on local insects, including collections from S. Armstead, S. Collinge, S. Hinners, C. Kearns, and K. Mooney.
Separate teaching collections are maintained for use by the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Department and the Mountain Research Station. In addition, there are various smaller collections within the Entomology Section that are used for classes, including displays of
- Spectacular insects
- Examples of Colorado insects
- Examples of mimicry, crypsis and warning coloration
- Insect diversity
- Rare insects
- Insect products.
Uses of collections include research, teaching, and public service. Our specimens are made available to researchers throughout the world by means of loans. In addition to providing our specimens for research, we house voucher specimens for research conducted on insects or spiders by University of Colorado faculty and students and strongly encourage all researchers here at the University to deposit voucher specimens in our collection.