Lists of the primary and secondary types in the WIRC can be found here and here, respectively, while species lists for the majority of taxa in our collection can be browsed starting here.


Taxonomic Scope and Strengths


The Wisconsin Insect Research Collection contains approximately 3,000,000 curated specimens, with additional holdings of over 5,000,000 specimens in bulk (primarily in ethyl alcohol), and is the result of nearly 170 years of collecting by amateur and professional entomologists. Early collection efforts focused on Coleoptera, Diptera and Lepidoptera.


The current strengths of the research collection include Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Diptera, Lepidoptera, and Hemiptera. These taxa reflect the recent and ongoing research efforts of curatorial and support staff, as well as the result of taxonomic graduate training. Our active taxonomic teaching and research programs and our involvement in state and regional inventory projects have contributed to a sustained growth of the collection by an average of 21,000 specimens per year in recent years.



Noteworthy Holdings


Fluke Syrphidae collection — This includes 16,050 syrphid flies donated in 1959 and represents one of the best syrphid collections in North America.


Marshall collection — This extensive collection, originally housed in the Zoology Department and transferred to the WIRC in the 1970’s, is largely the result of collecting and trading Lepidoptera and Coleoptera with collectors across the United States.


G.R. DeFoliart collection — Donated in 1991, this collection includes 439 Culicidae, approximately 1,500 slide-mounted lice, and 465 Chloropidae.


Robert J. Dicke culicid collection — Approximately 14,000 point-mounted and 6,000 slide-mounted mosquitos were donated in 1993.


C.J. Dennis Membracidae collection — Also donated in 1993, this collection included approximately 10,000 membracids collected in Wisconsin.


Willaim Hilsenhoff aquatic insect collection — Donated to the WIRC in 1996, this important additon comprises over 175,000 aquatic insects collected almost entirely in Wisconsin. 


Walter Suter collection — This private general collection, contained in 24 drawers, was donated to the WIRC in 2003.


Gary Lachmund Catocala (Noctuidae) collection — Approximately 700 underwing moths, collected primarily in southeastern Wisconsin and New York, were donated to the research collection in 2010.


Daniel Young Coleoptera collection — This extensive collection of over 200,000 beetles represents an ongoing transfer of the current WIRC director’s personal collection of Coleoptera. The transfer began in 2005, and involves yearly donations of a few thousand specimens.