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Loan Policy at the C. A. Triplehorn Insect Collection


Loans are issued primarily for the purpose of taxonomic research that will result in the publication of the findings in a timely fashion. Loan requests should be directed to the Curator and must include contact information of the person requesting the loan (Insitutional Affilliation, Mailing and Email Address, Telephone) and a brief description of the purpose of the loan. 

Loan Policy

Last Updated: 26 February, 2020 (download pdf)


1. LOAN OF SPECIMENS – Defined as the temporary physical transfer of specimens from the C. A. Triplehorn Insect Collection (henceforth referred to as ‘Collection’), to an eligible individual (see item #2 “Borrower” below) without the transfer of ownership. Loans are issued primarily for the purpose of taxonomic and systematics research. Loans are issued as a professional courtesy and may be recalled at any time.

a) Loan Categories:

i) Regular (R) – For all specimens that are not Primary Types.   (See “Terms Specific to Regular Loans” below)

ii) Primary Type (T) – For Holotypes, Lectotypes, Neotypes, and Syntypes.   (See “Terms Specific to Primary Type Loans" below)

b) Loan Documentation:

i) Invoice – Specifies the terms of the loan and describes its content. It includes all relevant loan information, such as a list of specimens in the loan, loan due date, condition of the specimens at time of shipment, and any special conditions or restrictions that apply to a particular loan, but that are not included in the general Loan Policy.

ii) Loan Policy – Describes the policies that apply to all loans issued by the Collection.

2) BORROWER Defined as the person immediately responsible for a loan.

a) Eligibility – Borrower eligibility is linked to institutional affiliation and by the individual’s previous history with the Collection (see “Loss of Privileges” below) . Borrowers must hold faculty or permanent research staff position at a recognized educational or research institution with facilities for the proper storage of scientific specimens.

b) Associates – Qualified individuals without permanent institutional affiliation (retired personnel, graduate students, visiting faculty, post-doctoral researchers) may have access to Collection specimens for study if an eligible Borrower takes responsibility for the loan.

c) Responsibilities

i) Review, sign and return the Invoice. Discrepancies between the Invoice and the shipment received (e.g., number of specimens), as well as any significant damage to the specimens that might have occurred during shipping should be recorded in the Invoice.

ii) Abide by the Collection’s Loan Policy and loan conditions detailed in the Invoice.

d) Loss of Privileges – Failure to abide by the terms of the loan will result in partial or complete loss of privileges with the Collection. This will apply to the Borrower and to the Borrower’s associates, including other individuals of the same institution. The institution employing or sponsoring the Borrower will be held responsible for the loan until it is returned in full.

3) LOAN & SERVICES REQUEST Borrowers holding large numbers of specimens on loan may be asked to return all or part of that material before new loans can be granted. Loan requests should be submitted in writing (e-mail, fax or letter) and should include:

i) Borrower’s full name and, when applicable, name of associate(s) who will be using the specimens;

ii) Borrower's institutional affiliation (including mailing address, fax and phone numbers) & professional title;

iii) Detailed information about the taxon of interest, and brief description of the nature and scope of the research involving the requested material;

iv) Specific requests for destructive research methods such as dissections, chemical & DNA extractions, SEM imaging, among others.

4) SPECIMEN RELOCATION AND/OR THIRD PARTY TRANSFERS – Loans are shipped to the Borrower’s institution address; loaned specimens are expected to be housed & studied in that facility only. Both the relocation of specimens and the transfer of specimens to another individual require prior written authorization from the Curator of the Collection.

a) Relocation – If the Borrower moves to another institution, the original loan will need to be closed, and re-opened with the new institutional information.

c) Third Party Transfers – Transfer of loan material from the Borrower to any other individual must be pre-approved by the Curator of the Collection.


a) Storage – Specimens should be stored in tightly sealed drawers maintained in properly sealed cabinets to avoid infestation by insects or other destructive agents and limit exposure to harmful environmental conditions (i.e., humidity, direct sunlight, dust).

b) Handling – Specimens should be handled with care. The use of destructive or potentially damaging techniques (dissection; DNA extraction; staining or coating for microscopy; etc.) on loan specimens requires prior written authorization from the Curator of the Collection. Specimens should be labeled accordingly (e.g., DNA voucher; genitalia removed and photographed; etc.), with removed parts appropriately re-attached to the specimen (e.g., genitalia vial; card mount) or stored separately (e.g., microscope slides), and returned with the specimens.

c) Damage – Specimen damage resulting from improper handling or storage will result in loss of all loan privileges with the Collection.

d) Labels & Label Data

i) Original Labels – None of the labels attached to loan specimens, including old or invalid determination labels, should be discarded, replaced or altered. When temporarily removing labels for imaging purposes, the Borrower should reposition all labels as originally found.

ii) New Determination Labels – Taxonomic changes or determination updates should be clearly labeled. A determination label, printed in archival quality paper and containing determiner's name and date of determination, should be added to each specimen or at least to the first specimen in a series for all taxa recognized in the loan material.

iii) Unique Identifiers – All loaned specimens have a unique identifier in the format of a 4-letter code (OSUC), a space and a number (zeros to the left not included), e.g., OSUC 12345. The unique ID code attached to each specimen is printed on a small plastic label (barcode label), and is both human and machine readable. The unique id is an intrinsic part of the specimen label data and is included in the Collection’s specimen level database. In order to avoid duplication of records in the literature, this format should be strictly followed whenever specimen label data is cited.

iv) No extraneous code labels or new identification numbers of any kind should be added to the specimens.

6) RETURNS Specimens should be returned with the original specimen boxes and packed in a manner comparable to that in which the loan was received. That includes wrapping each specimen box in plastic film or plastic bag. A copy of the Invoice should be included with the specimens. At the time of the loan return, the Borrower is expected to send correspondence to the Collection (post or e-mail), containing list of taxonomic changes, re-determinations and type designations associated with the loan material. Determination labels should be printed or clearly handwritten in archival quality paper. Loan returns are at the Borrower’s expense. SPECIMENS SHOULD NOT BE SHIPPED BETWEEN NOVEMBER 15 AND JANUARY 15.

For detailed information on how to package insect specimens for shipment see:

  • Knutson, L. 1976. Preparation of specimens submitted for identification to the Systematic Entomology Lab, USDA. Bulletin of the Entomological Society of America: 22(2), pp. 130, https://doi.org/10.1093/besa/22.2.130
  • "How to Pack and Ship Pinned Insect Specimens" Blog post by Ted C. MacRae (11/1/2013). 
  • "How to Safely Box and Ship Pinned Specimens" Slide show by Gregory A. Dahlem, Northern Kentucky University

7) SPECIMEN RETENTION & EXCHANGE – Both retention and exchange of specimens require prior written authorization from the Curator of the Collection.

a) Retained specimens must be deposited at a public institution and made fully accessible to the scientific community.

b) Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but only after the loan is returned in full. If the request is approved, specimens will be shipped back to the Borrower at the Collection’s expense.

c) The following categories of specimens are unavailable for retention or exchange:

i) Primary type specimens.

ii) Unique specimens.

ii) Specimens previously determined to genus, species, or subspecies, independent of the accuracy of the determination.

iii Specimens collected in the USA or abroad under restricted agreements.

8) ACKNOWLEDGMENTS – Access to the Collection’s specimens and services must be acknowledged in all publications generated by the use of those resources. A minimum credit line should include the full name (C. A. Triplehorn Insect Collection), academic affiliation (The Ohio State University), and the traditional 4-letter coden (OSUC) of the Collection. The use of other codes, abbreviations, or acronyms to refer to the Collection and/or to our academic institution should be avoided. Borrower are required to submit citation references or electronic reprints of all publications or online resources resulting from the loan, as well as to submit electronic copies of all photos of Collection specimens. The images will be entered into our online database with the name and affiliation of the photographer and presented to all users free of charge in association with the specimen information, maps and literature references.


1) DURATION OF LOAN – Unless stated otherwise in the Invoice, non-type specimens are loaned for a period of 1 (one) year, renewable upon written request up to a maximum of 5 (five) years from the Date Issued listed in the Invoice. The Curator of the Collection will respond in writing granting approval or asking for the return of the material.

2) DESIGNATION & DEPOSITION OF TYPES – All Primary Types and Paratypes designated from loan material should be deposited at the Collection, unless otherwise specified in the Invoice or by written authorization from the Curator of the Collection.  Newly designated Primary Types should be returned with the same care as existing Primary Types (see ‘Return of Primary Types’ below for details.)


1) DURATION OF LOAN – Primary Types are loaned for a maximum period of 3 (three) months, non-renewable. Loans of holotypes or primary type series are limited to five (5) species at a time. Additional type specimens will only be loaned after the return of all previously loaned types.

2) TYPE SPECIMEN LABELS – Primary Type specimens usually have a series of labels attached to the pin. None of the type labels should be separated from the specimen or changed in any way, unless otherwise authorized by the Curator of the Collection.  In case it is necessary to temporarily remove some or all labels from a type specimen (e.g., for imaging), the Borrower is expected to place labels back in the same order and position they were found.  Special care should be exercised in cases when a genitalia vial is attached to the specimen.

3) TYPE CITATION - References to a holotype specimen in any form of publication must a) contain the specimen unique identifier (formatted as specified on 5.b.iii above) AND b) unequivocally state that the holotype is deposited at the Collection. See minimum credit line format in “Acknowledgments” (above).

4) RETURN OF PRIMARY TYPES must be done via fully trackable, signature-required services such as US Postal Service Registered Mail or private couriers. A maximum of 10 (ten) Primary Type specimens should be returned in one shipment. Each Primary Type specimen should be packed in a separate pinning box, with genitalia vial and specimen labels carefully braced with insect pins. Slides should always be packed separately from pinned specimens. Borrowers should contact the Curator or check one of the resources listed in “Returns”(above) for information on how to properly package specimens for shipment.

For more information about access to specimens, loan requests, and loan policy, contact the Curator.