Invertebrate Collecton

The Invertebrate Collection is international in scope with an emphasis on arthropods from semi-arid and arid lands, especially from North America. The strengths of the collection are the extensive collections of ants, samples from playas, rivers, and grasslands. TTU-Z is probably the third largest of the 12 prominent collections in the state of Texas.

The collection consists primarily of insects and crustacea, medical/veterinary specimens (endo- and ecto-parasites), and arachnids. Collections are stored dry, in ethanol, in buffered formalin, on microscopic slides, on SEM stubs, and cooled to -20 or –80°C. The pinned collection contains over 3,200 genera and 7,500 identified species. These are not morpho-species, but labeled, identified species. These counts are way underestimated because they were made over a decade ago and the majority of the collection holdings have not been identified nor catalogued. An additional number of invertebrates has been identified, but because they are not yet integrated into the main collection we are unable to determine if they are different from what we already have. At least three million specimens are retainined as sealed mixed-bulk specimens: dry and in ethanol. These samples are mostly catalogued and are being split and labeled as time permits (motivated by researchers needs).

Estimated minimal numbers

Recent (non-fossil) invertebrates:

Pinned Insects about 1 million individuals
Med/Vet Zoology about 75,000 individuals
Arachnids under 50,000 individuals
Miscellaneous groups under 1,000 individuals
Bulk samples of aquatics, UV light trap and ground samples about 2 million individuls

Fossil invertebrates (groups not otherwise represented in collection):

under 100 individuals

Total about 4.6 million specimens

Examples of fossil and sub-fossil invertebrates are stored in this collection, additional material is handled by the Anthropology and Paleontology Divisions of the Museum. Although the oldest (Recent) specimens in the collection are from 1600, the majority of the material was collected in the last 40 years. There are currently slightly more than 800 type specimens (mostly paratypes) in the collection. The collection is actively interacting with other research institutions. About 72,000 specimens are currently on loan to other scientific institutions.


For more information on the Invertebrate collection please contact the Curator. Contact Information is found here