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About the C. A. Triplehorn Insect Collection



The Triplehorn Insect Collection is a significant resource for the scientific community. We provide access to specimens and specimen data for scientific studies through loans, research visits, personal requests, and through our online database. We are a well-recognized repository for types and other scientific voucher specimens. The collection serves as an educational and outreach resource: we welcome tours and extended visits by University classes, public and private schools, and home school groups.  We also welcome tours and visits by local groups, organizations, science clubs, and families with an interest in biodiversity and entomology.

The collection was long known as the Ohio State University Collection of Insects and Spiders. In 2005 it was renamed in honor of its long-time curator, Dr. Charles A. Triplehorn. Housed within the Museum of Biological Diversity, on the West Campus of the Ohio State University, the collection is one of the main attractions of the Annual Museum Open House.

We strive to:

  • Collect and preserve scientific specimens for research and as a continuous record of the changing biodiversity of the world for future generations. 
  • Provide dynamic leadership in insect systematics research through publications, expeditions, software, lectures, and field studies. 
  • Foster cross-cultural and international experiences. 
  • Provide interdisciplinary experiences for undergraduate and graduate students in EEOB and Entomology. 
  • Integrate the collection both physically and intellectually with our teaching, research, and service responsibilities. 

The collection's major strengths are in those insect groups studied by the faculty, curators, students, and associates who assembled extensive specialized collections. These specimens have been the basis for several hundred taxonomic monographs and revisions by local staff and students, as well as students and professionals from other institutions around the world.

In the past the collection was largely limited to species of the USA, especially the Midwestern and Southwestern states. However, in the last ten years we have conducted and sponsored collecting trips to Australia, Malaysia, Brazil, South Africa, Taiwan, Ghana, and Kenya, significantly expanding the breadth and depth of the collection. Our type collection is particularly large, with over 3,000 primary types and tens of thousands secondary types.

With over 4 million dry pinned insect specimens in its holdings and an estimated 2.5 million wet specimens, the Triplehorn is one of the largest university insect collections in the country (Miller, 1991). All groups of insects are represented, and we are especially recognized for our holdings of leafhoppers (Cicadellidae), beetles (Coleoptera), and true flies (Diptera). Recent research by faculty, staff, and students has been focused on studying the diversity of parasitoid wasps, especially those in the superfamily Platygastroidea (visit the Johnson Lab.)  With the addition of the Parshall Butterfly Collection in 2015, we became a significant scientific resource for butterflies of Ohio, Midwest, and the Arctic. 

Literature cited:
Miller, Scott E. . 1991. Entomological Collections in the United States and Canada. American Entomologist, 37(2): 77–84. 

Biodiversity Informatics

In parallel with the physical loan of specimens to specialists, electronic dissemination of the data associated with the collection’s holdings is also an important part of our mission. We have had a continuous web presence since 1994! Less than two years later we began providing live online access to our specimen database.  We have invested heavily in the development and implementation of biodiversity informatics tools for both collection management and systematics research. 

Commitment to Education and Outreach

Our faculty and staff are committed to the training and development of the next generation of insect taxonomists and systematists -- scientists devoted to the discovery and description of species, the analysis and interpretation of species patterns of relationship and evolution, and the effective and efficient communication of their knowledge to all people.

The book 'Introduction to the Study of Insects' or simply 'Borror and DeLong', is part of the history of the collection. Currently in its 7th edition, it continues to be an invaluable educational tool for entomologists around the world with translations in Portuguese, Indonesian, and Arabic, among others.

To get up-to-date information about our activities, contact us directly and follow the collection on social media.