The oldest specimen we have so far that we've cataloged in our collection is of a stenelmid collected in 1888 from Champaign, Illinois by Marten and Hart. We have a few specimens from the late 1800s, but a lot of our collection was built around collections done in the 1920's around the Dust Bowl and after the first two museums were burned down. I'd expect the earliest stuff would be out East.
The story about Say's stagecoach is really interesting!
Katrina Menard, PhD
Assistant Staff Curator, Department of Recent Invertebrates
Associate Editor of Zootaxa
t. 405.325.6810  
f. 405.325.7699 
Sam Noble Museum
University of Oklahoma 2401 Chautauqua Ave. Norman, OK 73072-7029 
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From: Derek Sikes <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Derek Sikes <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 12:15 PM
To: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: oldest specimen in a US collection?

The oldest specimen in the University of Alaska Museum Insect Collection (UAM) is from 1899 and was taken in Alaska on the famous Harriman expedition. Much older Alaskan specimens were taken by Russian expeditions. I don't know if any of Steller's specimens from his visit to Alaska in the 1740s survive.


On Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 8:37 AM, Virginia L Scott <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

The oldest specimens I know of at University of Colorado date back to 1877.  Ironically, we have no specimens of the Rocky Mountain Locust, Melanoplus spretus,  that plagued the front range of Colorado in the 1870’s before being wiped out.



Virginia Scott

Entomology – Collections Manager

University of Colorado Museum of Natural History

265 UCB – MCOL

Boulder, CO 80309-0265

Work: 303-492-6270


From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Robert Anderson
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 8:37 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: oldest specimen in a US collection?


For me, the single thing that has emerged in this discussion is the very short time that we have been sampling/collecting insects in North America.  What we are hearing is that most collections have specimens from no more than 150 years ago.  Does anyone else find this a soberingly very short (and inadequate) time for us to truly ‘know’ our fauna?   I worry that the pace of basic taxonomic progress is being rapidly outpaced (and left behind) by technological advances in methodology, analytical tools, and information technology resulting in less of a focus on the basic questions of what the species are, how do we recognize them, where do they live and what do they do.    





Robert Anderson

Research and Collections Division

Canadian Museum of Nature

PO Box 3443, Station D

Ottawa, ON. K1P 6P4 CANADA


613-364-4060 (tel)

613-364-4027 (fax)

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Derek S. Sikes, Curator of Insects
Associate Professor of Entomology
University of Alaska Museum
907 Yukon Drive
Fairbanks, AK   99775-6960

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phone: 907-474-6278
FAX: 907-474-5469

University of Alaska Museum  -

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