Starting an entomological collection

Recently I signed up to take an extra biology class at my university, BIO6441 Systématique des Insectes (Insect Systematics), an advanced course of entomology. The main objective is to learn insects’ families through the elaboration of an entomological collection (scientific designation for pinning insects in a box).


My colleagues and I went two weekends ago to the SBL (biology station I briefly introduced in a previous post) for the beginning of the class. On the menu: hunting as many bugs as possible. Indeed, we need to build up a scientific collection composed of the greatest variability of insects as possible.


Tablet containers are great to temporarily store your specimens!

We swung all weekend our butterfly nets in open fields, in woods, on lakes shores, on the road, in a peat bog: even under water! We caught as much little creepers as there was, while being besieged by hordes of mosquitoes, horse flies and deer flies. For as much as we were outside, the warm sun kept the insects active and catchable: it began raining coincidentally (and fortunately) when the hunt was finished.


Beautiful wasp.

In short, I had a great weekend with amazing people and hunting conditions. Now the biggest work begins: mounting all my specimens and trying to identify the species. Over the course of the summer, I’ll have many opportunities to grow my collection, the class will only start again in September. I’ll try to post some pictures for you guys, feel free to comment below if you have any question about building an entomological collection: it’s a lot of fun and discovering! Enjoy the pictures!



Moth on the surgical table.


My big bumblebee.


An assortment of dragonflies + a small moth.


Some soft bodied insects + an intruder in alcool vials. From left to right: lady bug larvae, dragonfly larvae, stonefly larvae, caterpillar, damselfly larvae, spider, other caterpillar and caddisfly larvae (out of the picture).


A close-up of the damselfly larvae.