Orthopteroid collections

Drawer of leaf insects

Drawer of leaf insects from the Museum's collection.

The Museum’s orthopteroid collection contains an estimated 785,824 specimens, including 5,567 primary and 15,051 secondary type specimens.

785,824                    20,618                           

Specimens                           Type specimens                              


The majority of the collection consists of dry pinned specimens, but most of the termites and a small proportion of the other groups are stored in alcohol.

The pinned specimens are housed in 4,639 drawers, of which 3,940 hold the main identified series and 699 contain unidentified or partly identified specimens.

The collection also includes: a genitalia collection on microscope slides

• a photographic slide collection

• an archive of sound recordings of Orthoptera stridulation on tapes and CDs

Looking for a specimen?

The orthopteroid collections are being digitised


  • Blattodea (termites) 317,000
  • Blattodea ('true' cockroaches) 26,300
  • Dermaptera 21,800
  • Grylloblattodea 20
  • Mantodea 29,000
  • Mantophasmatodea 4
  • Orthoptera 378,000
  • Phasmida 13,700

Type specimens

  • Blattodea (termites) 1,381
  • Blattodea ('true' cockroaches) 2,011
  • Dermaptera 1,650
  • Grylloblattodea 1
  • Mantodea 930
  • Mantophasmatodea 0
  • Orthoptera 14,854
  • Phasmida 1,172


  • Blattodea (termites) 1,345
  • Blattodea ('true' cockroaches) 1,226
  • Dermaptera 855
  • Grylloblattodea 5
  • Mantodea 946
  • Mantophasmatodea 3
  • Orthoptera 8,141
  • Phasmida 792

Collections on the move

We have set out on an ambitious programme to develop a new science and digitisation centre. As we prepare for the move, access to some collections will be affected. 

Find out more and sign up to our newsletter to receive updates on changes to collections access, relevant news and opportunities to get involved.

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.

Insect division

Our scientists are conserving the Museum's vast insect collection, collecting and identifying new species and utilizing the collections for cutting edge entomological research.