About the Collection

NMSU Arthropod Museum Mission

  • To document the arthropod fauna of New Mexico and surrounding states, with special emphasis on southern New Mexico
  • To serve as a repository for arthropods, many impacting human, animal, and plant health
  • To educate students (pre-K through college) and the general public on the diversity and importance of arthropods
  • To provide diagnostic services for arthropods for the general public

History of the Museum

The Arthropod Museum at the Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Weed Science, New Mexico State University, began as a small accumulation of insects assembled from specimens left over from the days when a collection of arthropods was kept at the then Department of Botany and Entomology. More specimens were added from identifications made for New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service and voucher specimens from student and faculty research. The Arthropod Museum is a member of the Center for Natural History Collections (CNHC) at NMSU.

The first curator was Carol Sutherland of NMSU Cooperative Extension. She pulled the various specimens together during the 1980s and by the time she left to become Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Entomology and Nursery Production at the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, the collection had expanded to over 25,000 pinned specimens. David Richman then became curator and he and Dr. Sutherland agreed to transfer the NMDA collection over to the EPPWS collection, which was now being called the Arthropod Museum. Upon the retirement of David Richman in April of 2011, Scott Bundy became director of the museum. It is our long-term hope that the Arthropod Museum, as a member of the CNHC, will eventually serve as the invertebrate portion of a unified natural science museum on campus.

The collection is currently housed in W-168 Skeen Hall and has grown to approximately 150,000 research and 5,000 teaching specimens through the additions of vouchers, trades, collecting expeditions in the Southwestern United States, and specimens that have been identified through the NMSU Cooperative Extension service. The Museum also houses the following private collections:

Synoptic collection of Southwest Meloidae from Floyd G. Werner (Coleoptera)
Grant Kinzer Ponderosa Pine insects and other conifer insects collection
Carol Sutherland leafhopper collection (Homoptera: Cicadellidae)
James Cokendolpher collection of cave arthropods from New Mexico

The majority of the specimens in the collection are pinned and housed in Cornell-style cabinets, but the Museum also has a significant collection of insects, arachnids, and other arthropods preserved in alcohol and on microscope slides. Over 200 type specimens of new species are also housed in the Museum’s collections.