INHS Collections Data

Illinois Natural History Survey - Insect Collection (INHS-INSECT)

The INHS Insect Collection, which comprises ca. 7 million prepared specimens as well as noninsect arthropods (e.g., arachnids and myriapods) and miscellaneous invertebrates (bryozoans), is one of the largest and oldest entomological collections in North America. The growth and wide-ranging scope of this collection can be credited to the diverse interests of the systematists who have spent all or part of their careers at the Survey. Scientists such as Stephen A. Forbes, the first Director of the State Laboratory and Chief of the Natural History Survey; Theodore Frison, who succeeded Forbes; and H. H. Ross, who directed the intense systematics studies of the faunistic section for 40 years, placed considerable emphasis on enlarging the insect collection. These insects document the changing landscape and environmental conditions of the world. The INHS Insect Collection is one of the largest in North America. The most recent comprehensive size estimate was done in 1992. The heavy concentration of specimens from the last third of the 1800s also makes this one of North America's oldest insect and related arthropod collections. The INHS Insect Collection includes more than 3,079 primary and >10,000 secondary type specimens. Because of size, historical holdings, and wide breadth of coverage in certain groups, the collection is an important national and worldwide resource.
Contacts: Tommy McElrath, Collection Manager,
Collection Type: Preserved Specimens
Management: Data snapshot of local collection database
Last Update: 30 January 2023
Digital Metadata: EML File
Rights Holder: Illinois Natural History Survey
Cite this collection:
Illinois Natural History Survey - Insect Collection. Occurrence dataset (ID: baf95f6b-8c1a-4364-80f5-0679d81d2696) accessed via the INHS Collections Data Portal,, 2024-05-25).
Collection Statistics
  • 1,089,264 specimen records
  • 656,792 (60%) georeferenced
  • 110,997 (10%) with images (116,995 total images)
  • 66,840 (6%) identified to species
  • 784 families
  • 133 genera
  • 1,338 species
  • 1,338 total taxa (including subsp. and var.)
Extra Statistics
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Geographic Distribution
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