Besides our natural focus on Alberta, our collection also has significant specimens from North America and across the globe, especially pinned insects and marine shells.
Our pinned insect collection features a world-wide collection of Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, ants and their allies, ~250,000 specimens). Stinging wasps (Aculeata) are particularly well represented. We also have well-developed collections of Coleoptera (beetles) and Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) along with several minor collections of most other insect orders.
Our slide and fluid collections were developed for the most part through the activities of the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI). They consist mainly of soil mites (mostly oribatids), larvae of chironomid midges, other aquatic insects and aquatic snails. We also have a substantial collection of slide-mounted bird and mammal ectoparasites (fleas, lice, mites) and a smaller number of thrips.
We also have a marine shell collection that is quite diverse in terms of species numbers.
Researchers can access our collection through loans and on-site visits. Please contact Tyler Cobb, Head of Life Sciences, Curator of Invertebrate Zoology, if you are interested in accessing this collection.