insects bugs specimens drawer research and collections entomology

With over 800,000 described species—more than half of all known living organisms—insects are the most diverse group of animals on Earth. NHMLAC’s entomology collection, one of the largest at the museums, has approximately 6 million specimens of insects, spiders, and other terrestrial arthropods. It is the largest in Southern California and has specimens from all over the world. The collection's strength lies in its holdings of specimens of ants, phorid flies, scarab beetles, and moths from North and Central America. We also have a large and growing collection of insects in amber, about 3,000 pieces. 

Entomology at the Natural History Museum goes back as far as 1913, when NHM  first opened. 


Museum scientists conduct world-class research on systematics, studying species and their relationships, the evolution of major groups, and fossil insects in amber. They conduct field work on insect biodiversity at home and in tropical countries. 

Qualified researchers can request loans from the collection by contacting us at the address below.


Urban Nature Research Center


Catalog of holdings

Our Staff

Austin Baker, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Entomology

Austin is managing a large initiative to sequence DNA "barcodes" for every insect species in California.

Kat Halsey
Collection Assistant, Entomology

Kat is a specimen preparator that works on the new amber collection, databasing the historic Channel Islands collections, and sorting and mounting specimens from South America.

Brian Brown, Ph.D.
Curator, Entomology

Dr. Brian V. Brown, head of NHM's Entomology Department and Curator of Entomology, is an expert on the systematics of phorid flies, especially the tropical species of ant-decapitating flies, genus Apocephalus.

Estella Hernandez
Associate Collections Manager, BioSCAN, Urban Nature Research Center

Estella works on the BioSCAN project and manages students and volunteers who are also involved on the project.

Giar-Ann Kung
Collections Manager, Entomology

Giar-Ann Kung is one of the Entomology Department's Collections Managers. She is responsible for the care and maintenance of the entomology collection.

Weiping Xie
Senior Collections Manager, Entomology

Mr. Weiping Xie is the Entomology Department's Collections Manager. He is responsible for care and maintenance of the entomology collection's pinned, alcohol-preserved, and slide-mounted specimens.

Contact Us

Questions? Contact Brian Brown at bbrown@nhm.org.