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The Entomology Collection at the Museum contains over 300,000 specimens, including both insects and arachnids. The collections focus primarily on the Santa Barbara region, including important holdings from the California Channel Islands. In addition to Channel Islands material, the collection is very strong in California beetles (Coleoptera), moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera), and parasitic wasps (Hymenoptera).

The dry collection is housed in modern metal cabinets, in Cornell-style drawers, and is mostly sorted to the family level. The collection holds about 20 primary types, described as a result of California beetle surveys, housed separately from the remainder of the collection.

Representation is very strong from the Transverse Ranges, including the mountains of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Kern, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties. Desert areas to the east are also well represented, as is the southern Sierra Nevada.

Recent collection growth has resulted primarily from regional surveys conducted through the California Beetle Project, developed and led by former curator Michael Caterino, and continued at a reduced but sustained level by current curator Matthew Gimmel. These surveys are described more thoroughly through the project webpages, which also includes a searchable specimen-level database (but see note below for the new database platform; the California Beetle Project page is no longer updated). As for the general collection, it has grown significantly through the incorporation of bulk trapping residues from which beetles have been extracted. This includes samples from Malaise, Lindgren, pitfall, and flight interception trapping, as well as extensive litter sifting, and they are full of other interesting arthropods awaiting further study. The collection has also been the beneficiary of of several important donations, especially of local moths and butterflies.

In 2016, the SBMNH Entomology collection specimen data were migrated to a new platform using Symbiota software, the SCAN portal ( This portal aggregates collection data from a large number of entomology collections, with an emphasis on North America.

The collection includes a sizeable wet component. In addition to the bulk samples mentioned above, there is very good representation of regional spiders and other arachnids, and substantial collections of aquatic insects and beetle larvae.

Entomology maintains a frozen specimen collection, with specimens available for molecular systematic studies. For the most part this collection is focusing on beetles peculiar to California, but donations of other material will be considered.

Specimen loans are available under standard conditions. To arrange a specimen loan or research visit please contact the Entomology Curator, Matthew Gimmel, for more information.



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