About the Insect Collection
Our Mission Statement | Our Building | In Memorium
The Cornell University Insect Collection (CUIC) continues to serve as the research collection for Cornell’s Entomology department since the university’s inception in 1865. Although it initially acted as a repository of research materials to track agricultural concerns in New York State while analyzing different stages of insect life, it also recorded the influence of pesticides i.e. arsenic on agricultural crops and noted the various insect types attracted to/attacking specific regional fauna.
The first official collection, based on a donation from Herbert Smith, a Cornell alumnus and collector for the British museum, contained 20,000 insects. While Smith’s donation covertly supported Ezra Cornell’s congressional tenure which was temporarily harmed by political scandal, the collection expanded through later additions from Henry Comstock.
Today, the CUIC serves as a repository of insect biodiversity which contributes to a global understanding of entomology through expeditions to Africa and South America and specimen exchange programs with various universities/countries, particularly China (due to Cornell’s historically-established international policy). With over 7 million specimen, the collection’s research relies on technological advances such as molecular sequencing and digital imaging to support its ongoing projects focusing on invasive species, bee phylogenetics, Hawaiian insects and environmental response to new types.
Additionally, it serves as a research storehouse for undergraduate classes and doctoral students interested in insect systematics with academic connections to New York City’s Museum of Natural history.
Housed within Cornell’s Entomology Department and located on the second floor of Comstock Hall, the Insect Collection comprises 6600 square feet of space. Named after Anna and Henry Comstock, this is the second building affiliated with Anna Comstock and the only building on campus to share its name with another structure.
The CUIC would like to recognize the accomplishments of Professor John Franclemont, born the day the Titanic died but died the day of June 17, 2004. The professor emeritus contributed to the knowledge of the Entomology Department and its research catalog, by constructing a vast 350,000 moth collection from previously unsampled or poorly sampled places such as Arizona.
Last modified 2008-11-06 13:24