History

The Strickland Entomological Museum was named in honor and in memory of Dr. E. H. Strickland, who founded the Department of Entomology in 1922, and within a few years thereafter established the insect collection. The Museum's holdings are located in CW-223 in the Biological Sciences Building.

Approximately one million specimens are included, preserved dry on pins; in vials, in alcohol; or in Canada balsam, on microscope slides. The pinned specimens are in cardboard trays, housed in about 2,300 wooden, glass topped drawers. The drawers are in wooden or steel cabinets, each of which is labelled as to contents.

Two collections comprise the Strickland Museum: the Research Collection and the Alberta Reference Collection. Also included is a cabinet containing 20 drawers of 3" X 5" ruled index cards, containing distributional and phenological information about the insect species known from Alberta. An extensive collection of reprints, filed by taxonomic group treated, is available in the Museum for ready reference.

The Research Collection includes principally Nearctic insects, representing most orders and the major families thereof. The beetle family Carabidae is especially well represented: included are about 400,000 specimens principally from the Nearctic region, but with an important Neotropical component, and fewer taxa from the remaining biogeographical regions. The Kenneth Bowman Collection of Lepidoptera, which is part of the Research Collection, contains pinned specimens representing most of the species of butterflies and moths known from Alberta. The F.S. Carr Collection of Coleoptera is housed in approximately 300 drawers.

The Alberta Reference Collection includes a few representatives (one or two) of many of the species known to occur in this province. The collection is used primarily as an aid in identifying local species.

Except for the carabids, the collections are arranged in systematic order, according to recent textbooks, catalogues and checklists, as appropriate. The Carabidae are organized by zoogeographical region, and then systematically, within each region. The Strickland Museum collections are in the process of being databased and are available on the internet as the Entomology Virtual Museum.

Material from both the Research and Reference Collections is available for loan and study by those who are preparing taxonomic revisions. Records of loans and of all incoming and outgoing shipments of specimens are maintained.

The Strickland Museum has 9 holotypes and over 4,500 paratype specimens as of October, 2015. Type specimens are placed with the appropriate species, rather than in a separate type collection.

Identification of carabids is one of the main services provided, on the basis of written requests, in aid of research or collection development. Submitted specimens must be labelled as to locality and must be prepared properly for ease of examination.

As well, insect specimens are identified for: the general public locally; Agriculture and Agri-food Canada; Alberta Department of Agriculture; public health units in Alberta and the Northwest Territories; medical laboratories; Provincial Laboratory of Public Health; the University of Alberta Hospital; and police forces in Alberta and British Columbia. Methods of control of household insect pests are recommended, on request.