Entomology

The Entomology Department of the Natural History Museum in Zimbabwe was established in 1911, and to date holds the largest collection of insects in the country. The department maintains a valuable representative collection of the insect fauna of the country and the sub-Sahara Afrotropical region. The origins of the collection also spans to Madagascar. There are more than two million insect specimens and these are represented by over 50 000 species. The collection is predominantly rich in well taxonomically characterised orders of Lepidoptera, Odonata, Orthoptera, Isoptera, Coleoptera, Nueorptera, Diptera (Tephritidae) and Hemiptera. The Odonata part of the collection is the most complelte and extensive collection in Africa and is followed by the Lepidopteran order. To add value to the collection, the department contains over 3 000inawxr rypw apwximwna – those used in original description and to which species name are formally and permanently attached. Given this strength, the museum has become a major centre for the provision of biosystematics services and research as well as conservation of invertebrate biological diversity in Africa. The specimens are acquired through museum field expeditions and donations from research scientists, students, private collectors and the general public. About 0,06% of the insect specimens are on public displays in the galleries and the rest are housed in the laboratory. Most of the specimens are preserved as dry-pinned insects in wooden drawers and a few in alcohol and permanent slide mounts.