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The Insect Division houses approximately 4.5 million specimens and single-species lots, and an additional 21,000 mixed species lots. The majority of the latter consist of Acari and other microarthropods, with each lot containing from a few to tens of thousands of individual specimens. Prepared specimens are divided among four preparation types: pinned, fluid, microscope slide and sound recording.
The collection ranked seventh in size among all surveyed collections in the United States in 1971 (Steere, 1971) and was listed among the "first rank" by Pechuman (1975). In the most recent survey (Miller, 1991) based on 1986 data for all North American collections, the Michigan collection tied for eleventh in overall size and third among university collections. Among the latter, only the collections of Harvard University and Cornell University are larger.
Pinned and papered specimens are presently located in three ranges. Room 2044 houses the Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera; room 2047 the Odonata and Neuropteroids and smaller orders; and room 2080 the Orthoptera, Cicadidae and type collection. These specimens are housed in 7000+ "Michigan drawers," storage drawers that are about the size of two traditional Schmidt boxes, 18 1/4 x 13 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches. This drawer size is also used by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
Fluid collections are now housed in Room 2038. This room contains an environmental control system and a 6 ft. long fume hood for working with large quantities of solvents and other chemicals. Approximately 95,000 vials and jars holding specimens preserved in 70% ethanol are organized in a rack system. Five sizes of jars and vials are now used: 4 and 8 dram vials and 1, 2 and 8 ounce screw-top glass jars. Four and eight- dram vials use bakelite screw caps with Polyseal liners. The 1 oz. jars have a bakelite top with a Polyseal closure, and the 2 and 8 oz. jars have a polyethylene liner and cap. The jars and vials are stored in wood racks constructed in the museum, each designed to accommodate a vial or jar of one size. Vial racks are housed in 39 steel cabinets 18 x 36 x 72 inches. Each cabinet has 7-10 shelves and can accommodate several hundred racks. One cabinet houses 2 quart mason jars with unsorted lots of insects in individual vials. In 1998, we started transferring specimens from our old 3 dram vials with EPDM stoppers to the 4 dram screw-top vials with Polyseal liners. In addition, this has caused us to replace all of our vial racks with a slightly wider size to accomodate 4-dram vials.
Specimens mounted on microscope slides are housed in Room 2041. Slides are stored in chipboard slide boxes with plastic inserts holding 100 slides per box. These boxes are stored in 36 x 12 x 72 inch steel shelving units; boxes are stored on their sides to maintain the slides in a horizontal position with cover-slip up. Twelve shelf units presently accommodate 800 slide boxes, 87 of which contain insects and the remainder Acari.
Specimens awaiting preparation as pinned specimens or slide mounts are stored in mixed lots, either dry or in ethanol. Unprepared dry specimens are housed in a variety of field containers such as cigar boxes, Schmidt boxes and drawers in insect cabinets. Fluid collections such as light trap, malaise trap and Berlese funnel residues, and parasite collections from single host individuals are stored in standard vials and jars in separate racks in the fluid collection.
last updated 08/21/2003