Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Maintenance on this system will make it temporarily unavailable for short periods of time between 8:00 and 10:00 AM EDT this Saturday, 06 June.

Search will be unavailable on Tuesday, 17 April, from 10 to 10:30 AM (EDT)
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Entomology Collection

The U.S. National Entomological Collection (USNM) traces its origins in part to the acquisition of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Collection of 138,000 specimens donated in 1885. These specimens became the foundation of one of the world’s largest and most important accessible entomological collections, with over 33 million specimens taken care of by the combined staff of three government agencies: the Smithsonian Institution; the Systematic Entomology Laboratory (Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture); and the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit (Walter Reed Army Institute of Research).

Approximately 450,000 records are currently available in this online catalog, including Genetic Samples, and the Primary Type, Specimen, and Species Inventories. Also available are the Illustration Archive records that include images and data about published scientific illustrations.

Search the Entomology Collection

We recommend using Search by Field (Scientific Name or Precise Locality) for best results, but you can also search by Keywords. You may also restrict your search to Genetic Samples, Primary Type Specimens, Species Inventory, Specimen Inventory, records with images, records with geo-referenced localities, or Illustrations.

Search results are sorted by taxonomic group and limited to 5,000 records. If you need to retrieve a larger record set, please contact the Department of Entomology’s Collection Information Manager. You can also customize the sort and fields to be seen in the results.


See the Help tab to learn more about searching and then exploring your returned results (sorting, exporting, etc.).

Featured Searches

Use the By Field search to find specimen data that match values in specific database fields. Enter a value or choose one from the dropdown lists. Use the Illustration Archive, Types, Specimen and Species Inventory searches to narrow the results to those specific catalogs.

Enter your keywords separated by spaces and click Search. Records that match your search terms will be returned.

Note that searching for common (vernacular) names may not yield the expected results. Associating common names with specimen records is a work in progress.

Keyword search example: cicindela chihuahua type

The results of your searches can be displayed in Grid (a sortable, customizable table) or Gallery View (best for reviewing images). Use the Switch button Change View to cycle between these views.

In Grid View:

In Gallery View:

See Exporting Results for information on downloading results to, for example, Excel.

Open the full collection record by clicking the expansion button (Expansion button) in Grid View, or anywhere within the image frame in Gallery View. Inverse expansion buttons (Collapse button) indicate records with multimedia (typically, images).

Sort results in Grid View by clicking the column header (or by choosing Sort from the column's dropdown menu).

Export all or selected results by clicking the Export Results as CSV button in the bottom toolbar in Grid or Gallery View.

Here are a few search tips:

To create a link to specific records at NMNH provide a querystring for:

where QUERYSTRING is (use a plus-sign to separate case-insensitive terms):

It is best to use only letters, numbers, pluses (+), dashes (-), and commas in your querystrings, and to avoid other characters.

Please use the Feedback page to report problems you find with the data, or with using these search pages.