Since 1997, Ron Leuschner, a Past President of the Lepidopterists’ Society, has been donating portions of his collection to the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Washington, DC. His cumulative donations exceed 26,000 specimens, the most significant of which is 11,017 specimens of Pyraloidea. Most specimens are from California and the western United States and add depth to the NMNH collection from this part of the U.S. Because of the current environmental degradation across the country, this collection may prove to be one of a kind as habitats disappear. Since many of the species at NMNH are represented only by the single type specimen, this collection adds more individuals to better document phenotypic and geographic variation within the species and its distribution. This kind of information is crucial to the duties of Alma Solis of SEL (Systematic Entomology Laboratory, USDA, and Curator of Pyraloidea at the NMNH) who conducts research, and provides identifications and information on economically important snout moth species.
Obtaining, decanting, and incorporating this donation was a group effort requiring many hours by many staff, interns, and volunteers. John Brown (SEL) provided Kelly Richers (volunteer in California) with mailer boxes. Kelly then transferred the specimens at Ron’s house and mailed the specimens to Washington, DC. At the NMNH Gary Ouellette (SEL), Alicia Hodson (SEL), Nick Silverson (SEL), Alvira Hasan (intern at the NMNH), and Alma Solis (SEL) transferred and sorted them into unit trays. Alma then incorporated the specimens into the main collection. Staff members at the NMNH and the USDA SEL are very grateful for these additions to the collection and the resources they will provide to lepidopterists for years to come.
Nick Silverson, Biological Technician, SEL, and Alma Solis, USDA Research Entomologist and Curator of Pyraloidea, NMNH, Washington, DC
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