Terrestrial Invertebrates Collections
The South Australian Museum houses what is arguably the most important historical collection of Australian Entomology in the world. It is estimated the collection houses upwards of two million individual specimens.
Insects are among the most abundant and successful of terrestrial animals. They include about three-quarters of all the described species of animals, and they have become adapted to a great range of environments, from high latitudes to the equator, from rainforest to desert, from mountains to the shore, and to varied ways of living – phytophagous, carnivorous, saprophagous and parasitic.
Important Notice - Temporary Closure of Entomology Collection to 2013
The South Australian Museum has been awarded funds from the South Australian Government to refit the Entomology store room and rehouse the collection in purpose built cabinets. In order to achieve this the entire collection will be moved off site for up to one year. Therefore no specimens will be available for loan or study until mid 2013. The Department will remain open for all other enquiries. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Arachnology — Spiders, Mites and Scorpions
Arachnology collection size:
- Spiders – 50,000 specimens in alcohol
- Mites – 25,000 glass slide mounts and 20,000 specimens in alcohol
- Scorpions – 5,000 specimens in alcohol
- Myriapoda Collection of about 20,000 specimens.
Collection specialty is Sparassidae (huntsman spiders), with over 2,000 specimens with large Australasian representation.
All glass slides are stored in the dry collection room while spirit material is stored in the specially designed Invertebrate Spirit store.
There are 2,500 types (primary and secondary) of spiders some of these being Rainbow’s types from Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands and 2,800 types of mites from Womersley, Southcott, Domrow and Lee, plus others. These types are constantly being referred to by Acarologists Internationally.
Entomology — Insects and Collembola
The Entomology collection has Australia-wide and Indo Pacific representation plus some world specimens for comparative purposes. The insect collection comprises 1,200,000 pinned specimens, 450,000 specimens in spirit and 20,000 slides. There are 8,700 holotypes of which 5,000 are from the AM Lea beetle collection. There are 24,000 other types. The Class Insecta comprises 662 Australian families and 85,961 known Australian species. The collembola collection includes types of most Australian species and from some other countries.
Special collections include:
- A M Lea, T Blackburn and S Barker (Coleoptera);
- O B Lower, F Angel, N McFarland, N B Tindale, R H Fisher (OAM), P B McQuillan (Lepidoptera);
- A A Girault and A P Dodd (Microhymenoptera); and
- R H Mew and A J McArthur (OAM) (Hymenoptera-Formicidae), D Paton and L Jansen (Hymenoptera-Apoidea).
- H. Womersley and P.J. Greenslade (Collembola)
All collections are integrated. The dry insect collection is housed in 108 cabinets each with 50 drawers, with specimens in unit trays. The Spirit collection is housed in vials and bottles in wooden cabinets; slides are in 900 slide boxes on the shelves.