Beetlemania at bug museum

29 September 2021 | News

It’s been a hard day’s night for Entomology Research Collection Curator John Marris and his team, who have completed the mammoth task of adding 14,000 new beetle specimens to the collection.

This is the largest single donation of specimens in the Lincoln University collection’s 50-year history and a significant addition to the 250,000 pinned insects already held.

The beetles were gifted to Lincoln by the University of Canterbury from a large study on the impact of forest changes (declining forest cover, altered spatial arrangement of small, isolated patches, edge effects from adjacent pastoral land) on the invertebrate fauna in the Hurunui District.

The new collection includes almost 1,000 species, many of which are new to science, and adds significantly to the overall coverage of insect biodiversity in the Lincoln collection. The collection will be an important resource for future research on the impacts of changes to our forests.

The project took Research Technician, Sally Ladbrook, around 700 hours to complete. The work was supported by funding from the Brian Mason Scientific and Technical Trust, which provides grants to support science and technology in the Canterbury and Westland regions.

Lincoln University houses one of the country’s largest entomology collections and is the only university-based collection in New Zealand. The Entomology Research Collection is used by Lincoln staff and students as well as national and international researchers as an identification reference library and as a source for new species descriptions.

The New Zealand insect fauna consists of 10,000 described (named) species, but it is estimated that another 10,000 species are yet to be described. Beetles account for 40% of all insect species.

The overwhelming majority of New Zealand insect species (over 90%) are endemic to New Zealand.

PHOTO: Research Technician Sally Ladbrook with some specimens from the new collection.