Bulk Sample Collection
At over 16,000 samples and growing, this may be the largest such collection in existence. Most samples have had some taxa removed (especially some combination of beetles, mites, spiders, millipedes, and recently ants), but still contain vast numbers of other arthropods.Learn more
At over 16,000 samples and growing, this may be the largest such collection in existence. Most samples have had some taxa removed (especially some combination of beetles, mites, spiders, millipedes, and recently ants), but still contain vast numbers of other arthropods. In addition to soil and litter samples, there are also samples from some 4,000 trap collections (flight intercept or FIT like the photo above; unbaited pitfall; dung- and carrion-baited pitfall; and blacklight) and small-scale pyrethrin-fogging of substrates such as rotting logs. Much of the sorting done by museum staff or interns has been supported by collection improvement or research grants to curators in the Division of Insects. We encourage interested researchers to visit and check these samples for specimens of their study taxa to borrow.
This organized collection was begun by former curator Henry S. Dybas (1915-1981; curator 1947-1980), a dedicated "niche collector," who began giving each of his samples a unique number of the form FM(HD)#-year-000, where "year" is the year of collection and 000 is a sequential sample number within that year. The (HD) suffix - his initials - served to distinguish these numbers from catalog numbers of other Field Museum divisions or departments; the parentheses were later eliminated for simplicity. When the museum's name was Chicago Natural History Museum (1953-part of 1966), the prefix CNHM(HD) was used, so specimens sorted and prepared then will be so labeled. All those samples are nevertheless entered here as "FMHD" numbers to simplify use of the data. All available collecting data for each sample are presented in the detailed view of its record.View less
We claim copyright to our data. The information is available ONLY for not-for-profit scientific use with the stipulation that FMNH be clearly identified as the source of the data. We request copies or reprints of publications that are based on our collections.
Citing this database: If you wish to refer to this database in a publication, use the following attribution: "Field Museum of Natural History (2006-2011): The Arthropod Collections Database, Division of Insects, Zoology Department, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. http://emuweb.fieldmuseum.org/arthropod/Query.php" with your access date.
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Creation and enhancement of the original bulk sample database was partially supported by National Science Foundation grants, including:
- DEB-8814449, A. F. Newton & J. B. Kethley;
- DEB-8906825, A. F. Newton
- DEB-9527968, A. F. Newton & M. K. Thayer.
Conversion of the legacy data to KE EMu was partially funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services' support for Common Ground, IMLS CM-00-05-0050-05.
Please see Insects' loan policies on the Loans/Visitors tab of our divisional home page.
Please be aware that bulk samples are not usually sent out on loan, but researchers are welcome to visit to search them for specimens to borrow in their groups of interest.
Searches are automatically performed as whole-word wildcard searches and ignore punctuation. Data for a sample with a known catalog/FMHD number can be found by entering the year-number part of the number in the Sample Number field. There are some inconsistencies in the data, e.g., "National Park" may be abbreviated N.P., Nat. Pk., Natl. Pk., or (in Spanish-speaking countries) P.N., and distances from named places are written in different forms, so searching for just the key words in names of localities (e.g., Olympic, Puyehue, Border Ranges) is recommended. The web interface currently cannot search for alternative values in a single field (e.g., Berlese OR Winkler in Collecting Method). If you enter more than one term in a single field, only records with all terms (in any order) will be returned. To search for a phrase, enclose it in double quotes ("carrion trap"). Partial words may be searched for using an asterisk (*) as a wildcard, but such searches will take longer and may time out. Search results are sorted by year and sample number, but if there are more than 5000 records in the result set, they will be unsorted and/or you may get just a list of record numbers. Partial-date searches can be done using several formats: yyyy, //yyyy, d/m/, m/yyyy, or d//yyyy (including the slash characters shown) and 3-letter abbreviations (jan, feb, dec, etc.) can be used instead of numbers for the month.
Users should note that the prefix "BS-" numbers used for collecting sites are database-generated site numbers; they have no historical significance and are not present on the specimen labels. Site numbers with the prefix ANMT are those of collectors A. F. Newton and M. K. Thayer, and usually do appear on sample and specimen labels.
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