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C . P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity

Department of Agricultural Biology, College of Agricultural Sciences

The Collection: The internationally renowned homopterist, Dr. C. P. Gillette founded the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity in 1870.

The collection includes approximately 3 million specimens representing about 60,000 species. Fifty primary types and 1,000 secondary types are included. As the largest, most comprehensive, and best-curated holding of arthropods, predominately insects, in the Southern Rocky Mountain Region (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico), it is a major resource for regional and national biodiversity investigations. Much of the material has been identified by specialists to the specific level. Examples of the unique quality of museum material include the aphids, other Homoptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, and all aquatic orders. Additionally, it houses the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory Soil Arthropod Collection, which is derived from the International Biological Program\’s Pawnee Site Arthropod Reference Collection, Konza Prairie Research Natural Area LTER Reference Collection and the Jornada LTER Reference Collection. It also serves as the repository for comprehensive arthropod inventories of Canyonlands National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Dinosaur National Monument Yucca House National Monument, and Colorado National Monument. Additionally, The museum is a repository for comprehensive surveys of military lands such as Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Camp Guernsey, Wyoming. More than 100,000 specimens are added to the collection each year. The Gillette Museum collection has been valued at $6 million.

Certain segments of the collection are so significant that they have been named for past curators or significant donors. At present these include the Howard E. Evans Hymenoptera Collection, the Miriam Palmer Aphid collection, and the Ray E. Stanford Butterfly Collection.

Graduate Education: Currently, six graduate and undergraduate students are conducting collections-based research. These include Matthew Garhart (systematic revision of Neominois [Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae]), Todd Gilligan (systematics of tortricid moths); Brian Heinold (Platte River aquatic insects); Shiloh McCollum (Systematics of Coleoptera); Luke Myers (stonefly systematics); Inez Prather (Systematics of Odonata).

Current Research and Publications: Current research projects by museum staff include:

Dr. Boris Kondratieff, revisions of Plecoptera genera; descriptions of new genera and species of Mydidae (Diptera); inventories of National Park Units, including Mesa Verde National Park, Yucca House National Monument; inventories of military lands, including Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

For recent publications by Dr. Kondratieff, see Dr. Kondratieff\’s web page. Approximately, 80 peer reviewed scientific publications have been published from museum activities.

Dr. Paul A. Opler is currently conducting research on a number of topics including “Revision of the Satyrium fuliginosa complex (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae); “Description of two new Ursia (Lepidoptera: Notodontidae)”; “Revision of the Plebejus acmon complex (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)”; “Review of the Euchloe hyantis complex”; “Atlas of western North American Arctiidae”; “Phylogenetic relationships of the world Anthocharini”; Inventories of the Lepidoptera of several National Parks including Rocky Mountain, Great Basin, Mesa Verde, Grand Teton, Great San Dunes, Colorado National Monument and Dinosaur National Monument.

Dr. Donald Bright: After serving the Canadian National Collection for 40 years as a systematic entomologist specializing in bark and ambrosia beetles, Dr. Bright has joined the staff of the museum in 2005. He is currently completing a revision of the Caribbean bark beetle species, has initiated a review of the Colorado bark and ambrosia beetles and the weevils of Colorado.

Contributions of the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity are edited, produced, and distributed by the museum. Dr. Paul Opler is managing editor of the series. A list of the available publications is available by e-mailing Dr. Opler at

Outreach: Dr. Kondratieff conducts approximately 50 tours of the museum annually, and teaches numerous workshops and classes using museum facilities annually.

Dr. Kondratieff is coordinator of several web sites include the Dragonflies and Damselflies of the United States, Mayflies of the United States and Stoneflies of the United States.

With his wife Evi Buckner-Opler, Dr. Paul Opler teaches classes on butterfly and moth natural history for San Francisco State University in the Sierra Nevada. Dr. Opler is coordinator of several web sites including the Children’s Butterfly Site, Butterflies and Moths of North America, and Insects and related Arthropods of the United States.

Location: Temporary location: 003 Laurel Hall

Facilities: The collection is housed in 119–12 drawer and 18–25 drawer Steel Cornell Cabinets, five alcohol cabinets, 17 other cabinets, 8 steel upright cabinets, and 19 microscope slide cabinets. A library associated with the Museum contains more than 1000 volumes and 10,000 reprints and bulletins. Three Wild microscopes and 1 Leitz microscope are available for use.

Director/Curator: Dr. Boris C. Kondratieff, Professor—Office: 003 Laurel Hall; Phone: (970) 491-7314; Fax: 491-3862;


Assistant Director: Dr. Paul A. Opler, Professor—Office: 003 Laurel Hall; Phone (970) 667-8448; Fax 491-3862;


Manager: None

Museum (Entomology) Associates:

  • Dr. Valeriu Albu, Fresno, California, collaborates on research dealing with Argyresthiid moths and is author of a Gillette series publication.
  • Ms. Barbara Bartell, Gilpin County, Colorado. Conducts ecological and natural history studies of selected butterflies. Assists museum in specimen preparation and publishes in museum series.
  • Dr. Richard S. Beal, Jr., Prescott, Arizona. Internationally renowned expert in the Dermestidae (Coleoptera).
  • Donald Bowman, Pueblo West, donated several thousand rare Lepidoptera to museum, provides specimens for photography.
  • Janet Chu, Boulder, Colorado, retired Boulder County science teacher. Conducts butterfly inventories and contributes assistance to the museum. Star donor.
  • Ken Davenport, Bakersfield, California, collaborates on DNA research, contributes significant material to butterfly collection.*Richard S. Durfee, Pueblo West, Colorado, expert in the taxonomy of Ephemeroptera, Dytiscidae, Haliplidae, and Chironomidae. Contributes and identified extensive material in selected aquatic groups.
  • Scott D. Ellis, La Porte, Colorado, an expert on western plants and selected insect groups. He has donated large collection of butterflies and moths to museum.
  • Dr. Clifford D. Ferris, emeritus professor, University of Wyoming, Co-author of Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States, identifies many moths for museum.
  • Mike Fisher, Littleton, Colorado, CSU graduate, author of several scientific papers, donated several hundred butterflies to the collection.
  • Chuck Harp, Littleton, Colorado, collaborates on research on genus Schinia [Lepidoptera: Noctuidae], donates specimens of Lepidoptera to the collection.
  • Richard Holland, Albuquerque, New Mexico, has contributed large collection of Baja California butterflies.
  • Dr. John A. Hyatt, Kingsport, Tennessee, collaborates of DNA research and donate specimens for butterfly collection.
  • Sam Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colorado, scientific collection and sampling of Colorado Lepidoptera.
  • Michael G. Kippenhan, Bozeman, Montana; International expert on Cicindelidae (Coleoptera).
  • Dr. George O. Krizek, Washington, D.C. Co-author of Butterflies East of the Great Plains and internationally renowned butterfly photographer.
  • Robert L. Langston, Kensington, California. Donated large collection of papered butterflies to our museum.
  • John Moore, Grand Junction, Retired High School Biology Teacher, has run light traps at Colorado National Monument for 4 years. He has also collected several new species and Colorado state records.
  • Dr. John Nordin, University of Wyoming, Laramie, donated thousands of specimens of Lepidoptera and Trichoptera.
  • Dr. John W. Peacock, Marion, Ohio, has donated many valuable specimens. Collaborates of research of genus Catocala.
  • David E. Ruiter, Centennial, Colorado, identifies and curates the large North American Trichoptera collection.
  • Dr. James A. Scott, Lakewood, Colorado, has donated many insect and moth specimens to museum.
  • Dr. Ray E. Stanford, Medford, Oregon, author of Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain states, donated personal collection of more than 100,000 butterflies.
  • Dr. Ralph Stoaks, Fort Collins, Colorado, collects and donates material from biodiversity projects with the City of Fort Collins.
  • Dr. J. Bolling Sullivan, Beaufort, North Carolina. Contributes extensive material from the southeastern states and identifies selected taxa.
  • Dr. Andrew D. Warren, Castle Rock, Colorado, Studies higher classification of world Hesperioidea. Expert on Colorado and tropical Lepidoptera. Has donated valuable material to collection and publishes in the museum series.
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