Uniqueness of the Collection

The Collection is one of the largest and most comprehensive collections in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region. Much of the material has been identified by specialists to the specific or generic level, making it very valuable in terms of quality of material.



Unique and Important Elements of the Collection

The Aquatic Insects

Ephemeroptera (mayflies) adults, one of the largest adult collections in North America, that is associated with larva

Odonata, 70% of North American species, includes 4,000 Odonata envelopes, (this collection recently was the basis for 2015 The dragonflies and damselflies [Odonata] of Colorado: An updated annotated Checklist by Bill Prather and Inez Prather)

Plecoptera (stoneflies) holdings, 90% of all North American species as adults, >40,000 4 dram vials

Trichoptera (caddisflies), 70% of all North American species, >25,000 4 dram vials, >2,000 shell vials in 330 8 oz. jars, is one of the rapid growing sections of the Collection.

This collection has served as the basis for the book (J. V. Ward, B. C. Kondratieff, and R. E. Zuellig. 2002. An Illustrated Guide to the Mountain Stream Insects of Colorado, 2nd Edition, University of Colorado Press).

The mayfly material served as the basis for one of the most comprehensive species inventories reported from any state (W. P. McCafferty, R. S. Durfee and B. C. Kondratieff. 1993. Colorado Mayflies (Ephemeroptera): an Annotated Inventory, Southwest. Nat. 38: 252-274).

Additionally, a review of Colorado stoneflies (B. C. Kondratieff and R. W. Baumann. 2002. A Review of the Stoneflies of Colorado with description of a new species of Capnia (Plecoptera: Capniidae). Trans. Amer. Entomol. Soc. 128: 385-401) was based primarily on the above material.

Many rare Neotropical species are included, especially from Mexico, resulting in the publication: B. P. Stark and B. C. Kondratieff. 2004. Anacroneuria from Mexico and Upper Mesoamerica (Plecoptera: Perlidae). Monographs of the Western North American Naturalist 2.

Sixteen new species were described in this paper. Recently, S. W. Szczytko and Kondratieff described 22 new eastern North American species of the genus Isoperla (Szczytko, S. W. and B. C. Kondratieff. 2015. A review of the eastern Nearctic Isoperlinae (Plecoptera: Perlodidae) with descriptions of twenty-two new species.

Monographs of Illiesia 1. 289 pp.) and this substantial contribution was based almost entirely on material in the CSUC.

Approximately, 200 refereed scientific papers by Kondratieff (see 2016 Perla 34, Lifetime Achievement Awards on Plecoptera Species File, have been based on CSUC material.

Almost all of the 95,000 caddisflies are identified to species by D. E. Ruiter, O.S. Flint, Jr. and other noted Trichoptera experts.

The Lepidoptera Collection

Under the curatorial egis of Dr. Paul A. Opler includes 2,950 Cornell drawers and an excellent regional representation of Ditrysia, especially Gelechioidea, Sesioidea, Tortricoidea, Pyraloidea, Papilionoidea, Geometroidea, Bombycoidea, Sphingoidea, and Noctuoidea (the superfamily Noctuoidea alone includes 528 Cornell drawers).

More than 90% of all North American species of butterflies are represented in the museum.

Many of the specimens have been identified by experts such as D. R. Davis, D. C. Ferguson, C. D. Ferris, R. W. Hodges, J. D. Lafontaine, J. McDunnough, R. W. Poole, J. A. Powell, F.H. Rindge, C. Schmidt, J. A. Scott, and P. A. Opler.

Many specimens served as voucher material for Opler’s books such as the Peterson’s Field Guides to the butterflies of Eastern and Western North America and distributional atlases of western North American moths and eastern butterflies.

Recent donations from life-long researchers Karolis Bagdonas, Richard Holland, and Ray Stanford have added to the museum’s importance, with almost full coverage in distribution data for butterflies and moths of Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

The collection is also a repository for arthropod inventories from Canyonlands National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Teton National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Yucca House National Monument, Colorado National Monument, and selected military lands.

Currently the collection is being databased and imaged through a grant from the NSF in the LepNet project in conjunction with iDigBio, where the CSU collection is one of the major holdings of Lepidoptera. This NSF funding continues through 2020.

Formal agreements have recently been made for the CSUC to receive extremely valuable identified and fully curated Lepidoptera collections from D. Bowman, S. Johnson, and C. Harp that require at least 600 new Cornell drawers.

These collections will then be available for future data basing making the CSUC Lepidoptera holdings one of the largest and best curated collections in the U.S.A.

Orthoptera Collection

More 35,000 specimens including Acrididae, Tettigoniidae, Gryllidae and all the smaller Nearctic families. This is one of the largest collections in the western USA. This includes specimens from the 1870’s, with substantial collecting in the 1890’s by C. P. Gillette. Other significant early specimens are from S. H. Scudder, T. D. A. Cockerell, F. H. Snow, J. A. G. Rehn and M. Hebard.

Of the more than 100 species (including synonyms) described from Colorado, the collection includes specimens from 40 type series, mostly early “cotypes” and many paratypes, syntypes, and paralectotypes. Several new series of “topotypes” have been added in recent years.

Specimens identified by Scudder in the 1890’s and Hebard in 1920’s and 1930’s are particularly important for a historical perspective of taxonomic thought in the early 1900’s.

The Acrididae is particularly strong with, 24,500 specimens representing more than 420 Nearctic species Approximately 16,000 of the above specimens have been entered into the SCAN database.

More than 5,500 specimens have been added in the past three years through the efforts of Timothy J. McNary.

The collection is the repository for grasshoppers from the USDA-APHIS-PPQ annual Rangeland Grasshopper Survey from Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. In 2017, an arrangement was established with the USDA-APHIS-PPQ, Center for Plant Health Science and Technology, Phoenix, AZ to deposit subsamples of grasshoppers from their 2010-2017 pesticide trials.

The Melanoplinae (Acrididae) collection of McNary was added in 2017. An additional donation by McNary of 10,000 specimens from other Acrididae subfamilies awaits available space.

The addition of 2,000-3,000 specimens/year is expected to continue through efforts of museum staff, in particular, by McNary.

The collection was the basis for the 1929 Orthoptera of Colorado by M. Hebard (Proceedings of National Academy Sciences, Philadelphia 81: 303-425) and the 1982 Grasshoppers (Acrididae) of Colorado. Identification, Biology and Management by J. L. Capinera and T. S. Sechrist. (Colorado State University Experiment Station, Bulletin 584S, 161 pages).

The value of the collection is exemplified by McNary’s (2014) description of a new species of grasshopper from Nevada (McNary, T. J. 2014. Trimerotropis aberasturii (Orthoptera: Acrididae: Oedipodinae), a new species of band-winged grasshopper from North Central Nevada. Western North American Naturalist 74:427-433) and a new species from Colorado

Aphid Collection

The works (Notes on the Aphididae of Colorado. 1928. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 21:1-20. by C. P. Gillette and M. A. Palmer) and monograph, Aphids of the Rocky Mountain Region. M. A. Palmer. Thomas Say Foundation 5: 452 pp.) are the basis of one of the largest aphid collections in the world, >16,000 slides.

This collection includes hundreds of paratypes and specimens are frequently loaned to aphid researchers worldwide.

The Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory Soil Arthropod Collection

The 9,000+ slide collection is derived from three primary sources:

  1. The International Biological Program’s Pawnee Site Soil Arthropod Reference Collection
  2. National Research Ecology Laboratory Soil Arthropod Research Collection
  3. Konza Prairie Research Natural Area LTER Reference Collections and collections from the Jornada LTER

These collections were assembled by Dr. Dave E. Walter, University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, a well-known acarologist. He has described numerous species of Mesostigmata and other mites from the above collections.

Additionally, paratypes and voucher specimens for studies detailing the feeding habits of more than 100 species of predatory, mycophagous, and omnivorous soil arthropods are included in the collections.

Hemiptera Collection

The 200 Cornell drawers contain one of the more comprehensive collections in the western United States. Revisions and species descriptions by C. P. Gillette, C.F. Baker, and M.W. Nielson have resulted in excellent holdings of North American species of Cicadoidea.

Approximately 1,200 paratypes of Cicadellidae are held in this collection.

The majority of North American species of cicadas is represented, including Colorado (“Insects of Western North America. 2. The Cicadas of Colorado, 2002.” The Pentatomidae and Miridae were recently databased into SCAN.

Diptera Collection

This section includes 325 Cornell drawers and is very comprehensive with respect to coverage of most North American families.

During revisions or species descriptions and faunal surveys, this section has been greatly enriched by adding secondary types and voucher material:

  • Ceratopogonidae (M.T. James)
  • Bibionidae (M.T. James, S. Fitzgerald, and E. Hardy)
  • Cecidomyiidae (W. Brewer)
  • Stratiomyiidae (M.T. James)
  • Syrphidae (E.A. Back)
  • Asilidae (E.A. Back, M. T. James, J. K. Barnes, R. A. Cannings)
  • Mydidae (S. Fitzgerald, B. Kondratieff and J. L. Welch)
  • Pyrgotidae (B. C. Kondratieff and S. Fitzgerald)
  • Tephritidae (B.F. Quisenberry)
  • Chloropidae and Cuterebridae (C.W. Sabrosky)

The Mosquito Collection is one of the largest in the Rocky Mountains, and served as a basis for Harmston and Lawson’s Mosquitoes of Colorado(1976, U.S. Dept. Health, Education, Welfare. CDC-Atlanta, Georgia) and the recent publication “Colorado Mosquitoes” by D. A. Rose, B. C. Kondratieff and M. J. Weissmann. 2017 (in press).  

Scientists from the Center for Disease Control in Fort Collins have also added important representatives and voucher specimens of species from Guadalcanal, Philippines, and China.

Howard E. Evans Hymenoptera

This collection consisting of 700 Cornell drawers is among the most comprehensive of the Rocky Mountain Region, including some of the most extensive collections of Pompilidae and Apoidea of the western U.S.A.

Evans and his students added many rare species through their study of the taxonomy and behavior of these wasps and bees.

There are many voucher specimens, especially of the Nyssoninae and Philanthinae (Sphecidae), accumulated by the research of Evans and his students. This includes a complete collection of beewolves (Philanthus spp.), the basis of Evans and O’Neill’s book The Natural History and Behavior of North American Beewolves (1988, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York).

Coleoptera Collection

This collection includes 362 Cornell drawers of beetles.

The holdings are extensive for many groups including the North American species of Cicindelinae (85% of all North American taxa) and was the basis of M. Kippenhan’s Tiger Beetles (Coleoptera: Cicindelidaeof Colorado, 1994. Trans. Amer. Entomol. Soc. 120: 1-86.

Other families well represented include the Elateridae, Scarabaeoidea, Tenebrionidae, Chrysomelidae, Curculionidae, and Cerambycidae (60% of all North American species).

The collection was basis for the D. J. Heffern’s 1998 Insects of Western North America 1. A Survey of the Cerambycidae (Coleoptera), or Longhorned Beetles of Colorado.

The Scolytinae holdings curated by D. Bright include 36 Cornell drawers of identified material representing much of the North American fauna.

CSUC Policies

The CSUC loan policy is one that is both responsive and accommodating. It is our policy to respond quickly to requests.

  • Material requested for thesis research by graduate students or other researchers is usually sent in care of the candidate’s major advisor or directly to an acknowledged researcher.
  • Loan forms are included and are required to be returned and signed and dated and are archived for annual review by CSUC staff.
  • The usual length of the loan is 24 months. All loans may be renewed when justified and requested in writing. Exchange of duplicates is encouraged.
  • At present, the museum sends and receives 4-8 parcels monthly to accommodate loan requests and loan returns.

If new species are described from CSUC material, paratypes are to be returned and the holotypes may be deposited in the United States National Museum or other major repository with the agreement of the CSUC staff.

The CSUC has significant legal and/or ethical responsibilities as a repository for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement vouchers, U.S. National Park Service catalogued specimens, vouchered specimens for DNA barcoding and other DNA studies, and primary type specimens required by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. These specimens are usually databased and imaged.

  • The CSUC will accept donations of arthropod material from the public based on the integrity and state of curation of the specimens. Usually these donations, including “in kind” and are accepted by the Colorado state University Foundation.
  • The CSU will not usually accept material that is damaged, unlabeled or deemed of low value by the CSUC staff.
  • Once accepted, specimens become the property of CSUC. The CSUC adheres to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Fauna and Flora and other applicable treaties and international laws.
  • The relative monetary value of the donated material is provided using IRS approved standards, however, all evaluations for tax proposes are the sole responsibility of the donor.
  • Monetary gifts may be earmarked for either the CSUC’s permanent endowment or its operational fund.

The staff of CSUC adheres strictly to all national and international collecting permit requirements.

  • All material collected during official sanctioned activities at national parks, other permitted federal lands, state parks, etc. are generally specially labeled.
  • We annually complete 10-12 specimen audits by national parks and other entities

The CSUC encourages volunteers and other assistance in maintaining and curating the collection. Roles include but are not limited to:

  • Mounting and labeling specimens
  • Sorting specimens
  • Assistance with packaging of specimens for mailing and/or storage
  • Cleaning and restoring of trays and drawers
  • Assistance incorporating donated material or newly acquired specimens
  • Identification of specimens, and museum databasing and imaging
  • Expectations of volunteers are that they have an interest in insects and/or related arthropods, be reliable, be willing participants in a friendly collegial environment, and be organized and detail-oriented

Advising Biological Research Community

The biological research community and the general public can readily assess and contact the Museum Staff.

Additionally, the CSUC is registered in the GRBio Global Registry of Biodiversity Repositories.

Using the Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network, the current 116,956 specimen records representing 4,748 total taxa that have been databased be accessed.