Lepidoptera at the Museum of Entomology (FSCA)

Lepidoptera at the Museum of Entomology (FSCA)

John B. Heppner, Curator of Lepidoptera (Microlepidoptera, especially families of day-flying moths (Brachodidae, Choreutidae, Glyphipterigidae, and Immidae), Tortricidae, and aquatic Pyralidae.)


The Lepidoptera holdings of the Museum of Entomology (FSCA), amounting to over 1,335,000 specimens (including 125,000 in papers), comprise one of the largest collections in North America. The collection is worldwide in scope and has specimens from all faunal regions. Pinned specimens are currently housed in 5,183 insect drawers. There are also several thousand insect boxes housing mostly identified backlog specimens awaiting drawer space. Although originating with the beginning of the old State Plant Board in 1915, the Lepidoptera collections increased greatly since 1953, mainly from surveys in Florida, staff expeditions to other areas, and the many yearly donations from FSCA Research Associates. In addition to the pinned collections, the Museum has large holdings of caterpillars in alcohol vials, amounting to about 220,000 specimens in 27,000 vials. There is also a special biodiversity collection for adult morphology studies of whole adults, field preserved in alcohol, amounting to about 100 vials and including a number of rare exotic families. Holdings of holotypes remain relatively low (see the Lepidoptera Types Catalog), but several 1000s of paratypes are in the collection. The Museum has a special display collection (mostly butterflies) from the collections of S. S. Clenney and F. W. Hedges.

Special strengths of the collection are for North America (particularly Florida, and the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Wyoming), the Neotropics (particularly Chile, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela), and tropical Asia (particularly Indonesia and Taiwan). Family strengths are especially for Arctiidae (including the D. H. Habeck collection), Geometridae (including the J. R. Heitzman, R. L. Heitzman, and J. M. Plomley collections), Hesperiidae (including the W. W. McGuire collection), Microlepidoptera (including the J. B. Heppner collection, and especially Tortricidae and day-flying families), Noctuidae (including parts of the T. S. Dickel and J. B. Sullivan collections), Notodontidae (including parts of the V. A. Brou, Jr., J. R. Heitzman, and J. B. Sullivan collections), Pyralidae (including the L. C. Dow collection, and aquatic groups from the D. H. Habeck collection), Sphingidae (including the 45,000 specimen V. A. Brou, Jr., collection), and Zygaenidae (particularly the W. J. Reinthal collection of European zygaenids). Butterflies are complete for all North American species, and nearly so for all subspecies, and include over 150,000 tropical specimens, particularly from South America and Africa: the largest donations have come from R. W. Boscoe, T. C. Emmel, F. M. Grimshawe, J. R. Heitzman, H. L. King, W. W. McGuire, E. C. Olson, W. J. Reinthal, and C. F. Zeiger. The largest additions among moths at the FSCA include specimens from the S. A. Adams, V. A. Brou, Jr., T. S. Dickel, L. C. Dow, S. V. Fuller, R. V. Gregg, J. R. Heitzman, J. B. Heppner, and J. B. Sullivan collections.

A special collection of Lepidoptera color photographs is under continued development at the Museum, now totalling over 7,000 color slides of adults and larvae, plus over 5,000 color images of Lepidoptera (mostly holotypes) from various museums around the world. There also are over 200 black and white photographs of Lepidoptera eggs taken by A. Peterson.

Lepidoptera archives include about 20,000 reprints of worldwide Lepidoptera papers (including those from the H. E. Hinton and W. J. Reinthal libraries), and notes and letters of C. P. Kimball and W. J. Reinthal. Lepidoptera literature available at the Museum comprises most all major books and pamphlets published on Lepidoptera of the world, lacking only some of the most rare and obscure older works (some of these are on microfilm).


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