|Invertebrate Zoology: Entomology
The insects of California and the Santa Barbara region are very poorly known. A major focus of entomology research is on compiling an inventory of our local insect species.
One group of insects that has received special attention is the beetles (Coleoptera). The state’s beetle fauna comprises about 8000 different species, and new species are being found regularly. An online database of beetle specimen records is available, allowing mapping of distributions. Over 1000 species have now been photographed and may be viewed online. See the California Beetle Project pages for more details. (NOTE: the California Beetle Project page is no longer updated as of 2016. Current Entomology Curator Matthew L. Gimmel is compiling a revised checklist of the beetle fauna of California). You may find current SBMNH Entomology data at the SCAN portal (http://symbiota4.acis.ufl.edu/scan/portal/).
Entomology curator Matthew Gimmel's research focuses on the taxonomy, systematics and distribution of two poorly-known beetle groups, the soft-winged flower beetles (Melyridae: Dasytinae) and Phalacridae (shining mold and shining flower beetles).
Other recent projects include a survey of the insects of the UCSB Coal Oil Point Reserve. This project, a collaborative effort between former curator Michael Caterino and Reserve Director Cristina Sandoval, collected, prepared and identified specimens of over 500 species of insects occurring in this important protected area. More information on the survey, and an illustrated online guide to the species can be found at: www.sbnature.org/copbugs.