Coleoptera collections

The Asian beetle collection of Alfred Russell Wallace

The Asian beetle collection of Alfred Russell Wallace

The Museum’s Coleoptera collection is among the oldest and most important in the world.

The collection contains eight to ten million specimens and over one hundred thousand type specimens, housed in 22,000 drawers.

Sir Joseph Banks Coleoptera collection which dates back to the eighteenth century is part of the Museum's collection.

10,000,000             100,000                        200,000

Specimens                             Type specimens                         Species

Strengths:

The Coleoptera collection includes type material of almost 100,000 species, including types from:

  • Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)
  • David Sharp (1840-1922)
  • George C. Champion (1859-1927)
  • George R. Waterhouse (1810-1888)
  • Charles O. Waterhouse (1843-1917) 
  • Rev. Thomas Blackburn (1844-1912)
  • Thomas Broun (1838-1919)
  • Francis Polkinghorne Pascoe (1813-1893)
  • Henry Walter Bates (1825-1892)
  • George Lewis (1829-1926)

The collection also houses around 5,000 beetles from Charles Darwin's Beagle voyage and material from the Biologia Centrali Americana.

Recent acquisitions include the Hugues Bomans collection of stag beetles and the Voříšek collection of weevils.

 

Looking for a specific specimen?

The coleoptera collection is being digitised

Collections team

Senior curator in charge

Senior curator

Curators

Any questions ?

If you would like to use any specimens for research   

Material type

  • Spirit
  • Pinned

Country of origin

The collection has worldwide geographical coverage with excellent historical coverage of:

  • Australasia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Southeast Asia
  • Japan and the Indian subcontinent

It is uneven though, with notable weaknesses from:

  • Eastern Europe
  • North Asia
  • China
  • North Africa
  • North and South America

Contemporary fieldwork has often been concentrated on South America in an attempt to redress this situation.

Important historical collections

  • Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)
  • David Sharp (1840-1922)
  • George C Champion (1859-1927)
  • George R Waterhouse (1810-1888)
  • Charles O Waterhouse (1843-1917)
  • Rev. Thomas Blackburn (1844-1912)
  • Thomas Broun (1838-1919)
  • Francis Polkinghorne Pascoe (1813-1893)
  • Henry Walter Bates (1825-1892)
  • George Lewis (1829-1926)
  • Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820)
  • Around 5,000 beetles from Charles Darwin's Beagle voyage
  • J A Power (1810-1886)
  • Horace Donisthorpe (1870-1951)
  • Rev. C E Tottenham (1895-1977)
  • Eric Gowing-Scopes (1913-2007)
  • A A Allen (1913-2010)
  • Derek Lott (1953-2011)
  • Eric Philp (1930-2013)
  • Ian Menzies
  • Laurie Christie 
  • Hugues Boman’s collection of stag beetles
  • Oldrich Voříšek collection of weevils
  • Luigi Magnano collection of weevils 
  • Milan Krajcik collection of flower chafers 
  • Recent Smith and Takano expeditions to east Africa

Accessing the collections

Scientists and collections management specialists can visit the collections and borrow specimens for research.

Collections management

Our duty is to provide a safe and secure environment for all of our collections.