The Museum's insect collections are known as the Hope Entomological Collections after their founder, the Revd. F W Hope. Alongside Ellen Hope and the first Hope Professor of Zoology, J O Westwood, the Revd. Hope established the entomology collections and their global reputation in the late-19th century. Our collections are second in size to the Natural History Museum in London, with an estimated five million specimens and 20,000 type specimens. Most of the insect material is dry-pinned, with some slide mounts and spirit collections.
The Museum's insect collections are particularly strong in historic material and associated archives, and contain specimens from eminent entomologists such as H W Bates, Count C J Billberg, W J Burchell, P F M A Dejean, D Drury, J C Fabricius, W Kirby, F P Pascoe and F Walker. In addition to the historic material, there are important research collections from University academics and past curators, such as E B Poulton’s Mimicry Collection, H B D Kettlewell’s breeding experiments and the Wytham Collection of C S Elton and G C Varley. Some of the highlights of the collections include Livingstone’s tsetse fly, Australian insects collected by Charles Darwin, and several thousand specimens including numerous types collected by A R Wallace in the Malay Archipelago.
The British Collection of about one million specimens spans the history of British entomology, with insects from the 18th century to the present day. The collection is particularly strong for flies, bees, beetles and true bugs. Highlights include the H St. J C Donisthorpe Windsor Forest Collection, the J C and C W Dale early British collection, the Verrall-Collin fly collection, and the F J Killington lacewing and W J Lucas dragonfly and grasshopper collections used for their respective Ray Society monographs. Other well-known collectors include M Burr, H E Cox, A J Chitty, C D Day, G C Champion, D W H Fennell, E B Ford, A H Hamm, A H Haworth, R C L Perkins, F Smith and J J Walker.