Te Papa’s Entomology collection contains some 630,000 specimen lots. It is the second biggest such collection in the country, behind the New Zealand Arthropod Collection held at Landcare Research, Auckland.
Te Papa's Entomology collection was founded in 1865. It includes about 1,150 primary type specimens of New Zealand insects and allies. It has especially rich collections of moths, butterflies, beetles, cicadas, parasitic lice, fleas, springtails, spiders, mites, ticks, and weta.
All major groups are covered, with a focus on those which are native to New Zealand, and those which have been the subject of research carried out by previous and present entomologists employed by the museum. Ancillary collections include foreign species of butterflies, moths, and beetles.
The collection is regularly consulted by researchers studying New Zealand's entomological biodiversity. Together with similar collections around the country, it underpins knowledge of insects and other terrestrial arthropods that occur in New Zealand, and how they interact with their environment over time.
There are three primary systems for specimen storage. Most insects are stored as dried, pinned specimens in wooden cabinets. However, many insects and other soft-bodied specimens are stored in 70% ethanol. A large number of small specimens are also mounted on glass micro-slides.
Parts of the entomology collection are databased, including all primary types of all taxonomic groups. Insect groups in the database are parasitic lice, cicadas, some beetles and moths, plus a great part of the spider and harvestman collections. Images of most entomological primary type specimens are available via Te Papa's Collections Online webpage.
Data of all parasitic lice and images of primary types can be found here: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/search.aspx?term=Phthiraptera