Collection and Preservation

Charles V. Covell, Jr.

University of Louisville

Insect collecting often begins in youth, when one discovers the love of making specimens for school, scouts, 4-H clubs, and other projects or as a fascinating pastime in its own right. The great diversity and numbers of insects, plus their rapid life cycles, usually mean insect populations can afford to give up some of their numbers and not be adversely affected by most collecting activities.

As one becomes engaged in various facets of insect biology as a researcher, the collection of specimens is important for taxonomic research, ecological studies, bioassessment and biomonitoring, and physiological and genetic studies. Because each labeled specimen is a historical record of that species' occurrence in time and place, proper methods of collecting, preparing, labeling, and storing are vital.

The general habitats, collecting equipment needs, and methods of collection and storage for the major insect orders and order groupings are presented in Table I. Below, a description of each type of equipment and its use are given. For more extensive illustrations and descriptions consult the books listed under Further Reading.

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