Insect diversity @ McGill
Stories about our collection of three million unique little volumes of biodiversity, the people who build and use it, and the research we do. And the odd rumination upon the nature of science and scientists.
All content copyright Terry A. Wheeler 2011-2013, unless otherwise noted.
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Category Archives: In the Collection
The first part of this post took us from fieldwork to pinned specimens. After insect specimens are mounted and labelled, the real taxonomic work starts. The Linnean hierarchy (class, order, family, genus, etc.) isn’t just a list of categories to … Continue reading
In my last post I talked about the workload in processing and identifying insects in the course of a big ecological project. It occurred to me that some readers may not be aware of the many steps in the process … Continue reading
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the lab lately, trying to wrap up some research as well as looking ahead to the field season of insect collecting. And wandering through the museum, looking through boxes and bins and … Continue reading
Of the millions of species of insects on earth, many are undescribed, many are currently impossible to identify from published keys or photos, and many identification keys are not as clear as they could be. That’s not news to people … Continue reading
I was updating our database of Diptera holdings in the museum this week and thinking about the enormous range in numbers of specimens in some families (see my earlier post on “why so many specimens?”). The Lyman Collection is very … Continue reading
Diptera are fascinating insects – diverse, bizarre, economically and medically important – but underappreciated by most people other than dipterists. We launched this series in an earlier post with a selection of five randomly selected reasons flies are great. In … Continue reading
Our insect collection has its roots in an amateur collection. Predictably, that means our holdings are very strong in two orders popular with collectors – butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) and beetles (Coleoptera). We had, at last count, about 130,000 pinned … Continue reading
I was giving a tour of the museum last week to some alumni who were back on campus for Homecoming and somebody asked me that question. The Lyman Museum has in the neighborhood of three million specimens, but we have … Continue reading
There is a popular misconception that we have to travel to tropical rainforests or unexplored corners of the globe to discover a new species. Wrong! Even right here in southern Quebec, in one of the most densely populated parts of … Continue reading
The Coleoptera (beetles) are one of the areas of strength in the Lyman Museum. Our history as an amateur collection explains this to a certain extent. The Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and Coleoptera are the two most popular orders of insects … Continue reading