Although the Insect Divsion has something on the order of 5 million (or more?) specimens in all of our collections, we have only a small part catalogued in databases. The parts of the collection that are being used for current research projects as well as portions that have been recently curated and updated to current nomenclatorial standards are available as lists of species. While not providing much more than names, they serve as useful lists of taxa for researchers and indicate the breadth of our collections.
We have made some movement towards databasing the UMMZ Insect collection, and small portions of it are available on the web. All of our databases are now in Filemaker Pro, with version 5 serving as the ultimate version for providing web access to data. Specimen-level catalogs are essential tools for taxon-based reseach as well as ecological and biodiversity-based inquiries. However, until funding for the actual data-entry and data verification process is made available, the bulk of our collection information will be unavailable via any means other than hand inspection of the specimens.
In May 2003, we started to reorganize parts of the Orthoptera collection. Part of Dr. Lacey Knowles' research is involved with answering questions on the evolution of species and relationships of species-groups within the Acrididae, especially the Melanoplinae.
The Michigan Odonata Survey has databased all of the Michigan Odonata in the UMMZ, as well as parts of the Michigan State University collection as well as some other small collections. At over 25,000 records, it is one of the largest specimen-level Odonata databases available on the web. We will continue to add to that database and hope to eventually expand our coverage to all of the Odonata specimens within the UMMZ.
Barry OConnor's work on the Acari has resulted in some recent additions to web-accessible data. Many thanks to Pavel Klimov, Mike Ebinger and George Hammond for working so hard on these databases and in getting them ready for a larger audience. In addition, Pavel Klimov has been instrumental in preparing the many new additional acari databases that are being brought online.