The Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics


The Towson University Biodiversity Center

History

The Entomological Collection

The TU Entomology collection was formally established in the early 1970s under the direction of Dr. A. Scarborough, although for many years prior, the department had an insect collection (through the efforts of various faculty members including C.C. Crook and W.H. Hathaway). In 2006, Dr. John S. LaPolla took over the direction of the entomology collection.

The collection is primarily regionally focused with a concentration of specimens from Maryland, but it also contains representative series from other parts of the world reflecting past collecting interests. The entomology collection presently consists of nearly 40,000 specimens collected from the 1940s to the present, although there are some specimens dating back to the turn of the 20th century. The collection was amassed through a combination of acquisitions, the efforts of faculty and student researchers, and student collections from the entomology and invertebrate zoology courses offered at Towson University. The most recent large acquisition (June, 2007) was the Lee Guidy Collection, which added over 500 Hymenopteran specimens.

Some highlights from the collection include an invaluable set of bumblebee specimens that will help in our understanding of which native bumblebee species have declined over the past 25 years. Already we know with certainty that the collection houses two bumblebee species that are now globally extinct, but were abundant in Maryland in the 1980s. The collection also houses a substantial volume of aquatic insects that will be valuable in assessing stream and river health, an especially important area of concern in Maryland due to the pressing conservation issues and legislation concerning the Chesapeake Bay.


 

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