A voucher specimen is an archival specimen that serves as a basis of a study and is retained in an institution as a publically accessible reference. These specimens ensure the credibility of the study and enables others a reliable way to verify the identity of the taxon if there are questions regarding the published research they’re associated with.
The deposition of voucher specimens for all research projects is strongly encouraged regardless if a thesis or dissertation is involved. Generally, a series of both males and females of each taxon should be deposited as vouchers (5-10 of each sex is ideal, but the number may vary depending on the purpose of the study). Voucher specimens should be in good condition and properly preserved and labeled. Applicable collecting documentation, such as permits, is also required for the deposition of vouchers.
We highly encourage a consultation with the collection director, Dr. Scott Bundy (firstname.lastname@example.org) or curator Helen Vessels (email@example.com) concerning voucher submissions prior to carrying out the research.
Insect voucher specimens should be pinned or point-mounted, unless recommended otherwise. For more detailed information on how to correctly preserve specimens, please refer to “Making an Insect Collection: Mounting and Preserving Insects”.
Label data for each specimen should contain:
- Locality Label
This “main” label must contain the following information:
- COUNTRY, STATE, COUNTY
- A SPECIFIC LOCALITY (eg. A town, mountain, trail, distance from a recognized landmark, GPS coordinates)
- DATE (DD/MM/YYYY format; lower-case roman numerals representing the month may be used to avoid confusion)
- OTHER INFO (Habitat, host plant, collection method, elevation, etc).
If the specimen data exceeds 5 lines, it is preferable to create a second locality label containing the supplementary information.
Under this label, the specimens must also include:
- Identification/Determination Label
This label must have the following information:
- The GENUS and SPECIES name (‘sp.’ if undetermined)
- The AUTHOR(s) name
- The NAME of the determiner and the YEAR the specimen was identified
All labels should be typed at size 4 font (such as Times New Roman or Calibri) and printed on heavy stock, acid-free, archival paper with a laser jet printer. This is very important because ink from conventional ink-jet printers will bleed and become illegible if exposed to alcohol.
For more detailed information on accepted label arrangements and size with examples, please refer to “Making an Insect Collection: Labeling”.
Voucher Identification Labels
We recommend that each voucher specimen that is submitted to the collection receive a unique identifier prior to publication. Ideally, this unique voucher ID should be part of the specimen information and be reported in any publication where the vouchers are cited. The voucher labels can be created for you by the curator if requested. Vouchers submitted after publication will be assigned a unique ID and labeled by the curator.
Voucher Data Form
When depositing voucher specimens, please include the following completed form and required materials for our records: Arthropod Collection Deposition of Voucher Specimens Form.