Insects - Policies

Visiting the Division of Insects

The Division of Insects collection of research specimens and library are used by scientists, graduate students, and others from around the world. The collection is primarily used for basic research on insects, arachnids, and myriapods. The collection and library are not open to the general public or used for activities that might disrupt scientific users. Due to reductions in our staff size, we cannot accommodate unannounced visitors. All visitors are requested to arrange visits at least one week in advance by contacting:

Please see our Visitor Information Guide for more information about visiting the Division of Insects.

Insect Loan Policy

Last updated April 2020

For requesting loans, please contact Maureen Turcatel, Collections Manager,, 312.665.7743. This policy is also available as a PDF.

  1. Loans of Field Museum insect specimens are made to institutions and to individuals who are recognized authorities but have no institutional affiliation.
  2. No loans will be shipped during the month of December. Please do not ship any specimens (types/non-types) during December.
  3. In order to protect the integrity of specimens in bulk samples, entire samples are not sent out on loan and must be examined/sorted at the Field Museum under staff supervision. Specimens thus removed from samples/residues are available for loans and can be shipped. There may be permit-based requirements concerning final deposition of specimens—especially, but not only, holotypes of new species or subspecies—that must be observed.
  4. Loans initiated by or for study by students must be co-signed by the faculty sponsor who agrees to take full responsibility for the care and safe return of the specimens.
  5. Original (white) copy of invoice must be signed and returned upon receipt of specimens; digital copies are acceptable. The yellow copy may be retained for the borrower's files. Any damage during shipping should be detailed on the form at the time of receipt. By signing the loan form, the borrower agrees to abide by the rules set forth here.
  6. Loans are made for an initial period of two years from date of receipt of specimens; primary types are lent for six months only. Loan extensions are negotiable on an individual basis. Specimens must be returned promptly when a loan is terminated or extension denied.
  7. All borrowed specimens should be kept in unit trays, boxes, or drawers that are clearly marked to indicate that they are from the Field Museum. If, during the course of study, specimens are mixed with specimens from other collections, then our specimens should be affixed with individual labels to indicate that they are part of the Field Museum collection. The borrower takes full responsibility for care of specimens; they should be protected from breakage, dust, water, light (when not in use), and museum pests.
  8. Loans may not be forwarded to another individual or institution without written approval.
  9. Dissection of genitalia is allowed when such work is deemed necessary to resolve taxonomic questions. All dissected parts should be preserved in permanent mounts or plastic microvials with glycerin, attached to the specimen pin and returned with the remainder of the loan. If parts are separated from a specimen, they should be labeled with complete data from the original specimen. Arachnida and Myriapoda genitalia should be stored in microvials filled with alcohol together in the vial with the originating specimen. The microvial must be secured at the bottom of the specimen vial with cotton, since the microvial can damage the specimen during shipping. Paratypes should be dissected only when necessary to resolve a difficult taxonomic problem, and holotypes should not be dissected without prior approval. Duplicates from series may be dissected and/or coated as necessary for SEM studies. Primary types should not be coated for SEM work.
  10. Researchers should contact the responsible curator or collection manager before conducting complete dissections of any type specimens or destructive sampling of any specimens such as for DNA/RNA extraction. DNA data from Field Museum specimens should be made available at GenBank (or equivalent public database). GenBank or comparable accession numbers should be sent to the responsible curator or collection manager. Publications should include a list of voucher/sample numbers and GenBank accession numbers, citing the Field Museum as the source. Unused material supplied for DNA analyses must be returned.
  11. Slides prepared by the borrower must be clearly labeled with full data and so as to be easily associated with other parts of the specimen, if any. Slides must be returned at the same time as other specimen parts, but packed separately to avoid breakage.
  12. All primary types described from Field Museum material must be returned to the Field Museum. For new types designated from material collected relatively recently outside the USA, agreements concerning type deposition in the source country may exist; please inquire about this possibility before publication, so the proper depository can be cited in your paper. Deposition of secondary types should be arranged with the responsible curator or collection manager. Types must be labeled with genus, species, and author. Duplicates of specimens identified by the borrower (including paratypes) may be retained by prior arrangement with the curator or collection manager, 20% or one in five duplicates may be retained. We encourage exchanges of material that increase the taxonomic and/or geographic representation of our collections. Any questions relating to retention should be directed to the curator or collection manager.
  13. Copies of all publications based on Field Museum specimens in whole or in part should be sent to the responsible curator or collection manager. When reprints are not available the curator or collection manager should be notified of the publication citation.
  14. Determination labels should be placed on each specimen used in monographic or other descriptive work, or in cases where the specimen(s) have any other voucher-specimen status. Requests to deviate from this procedure should be addressed to the responsible curator or collection manager.
  15. All primary types should be returned by registered mail or equally safe means, advising the curator or collection manager (with loan number, if possible) that they are being sent. Borrowers are encouraged to return all specimens as soon as possible after the completion of a project.
  16. Specimens should be returned in the original or equally suitable insect boxes and packed and shipped to insure their safe return. Alcohol specimens need to be packed according to IATA regulations.