Almost three quarters of all organisms on our planet are insects. Recording and describing this enormous diversity is part of the international challenge in which the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart takes part. Because of their great diversity and often minute size, insects usually cannot be identified in the field and have to be collected and mounted for further examination. Insect collections are an essential basis of the research at natural history museums. The insect fauna of most regions is much less known compared for instance to mammals or birds, and new species of insects are discovered and described regularly.


Ernst Hoffmann (1837-1892) became in 1869 the first entomologist employed on a full-time basis. He was lepidopterist and published the "Die Großschmetterlinge Europas". In 1913 Erwin Lindner (1888-1988) joined the the museum and was head of the Department of Entomology until 1953. He edited the "Fliegen der paläarktischen Region" which is well known among entomologists. Subsequently, from 1956 until 1982, the coleopterist Karl Wilhelm Harde (1922-1982) was head of the Department and co-editor of the "Käfer Mitteleuropas". In 1963 the section for phylogenetic research was founded for Willi Hennig (1913-1976). In 1998 this section was partly merged with the Department of Paleontology and partly with the Department of Entomology.

Size of the collection (1998)

The insect collection contains about four million mounted and labelled insect specimens in ca. 22.000 drawers from all regions of the world. Additionally there is an alcohol collection of other invertebrates (spiders, crustaceans). The collection is the part of the museum with the highest number of species and specimens and is of international importance.

Specimens Types
Crustacea: Isopoda (isopods) 70.000 270
Arachnida: Pseudoscorpiones (pseudoskorpions) 4.000 30
Coleoptera (beetles) 1.500.000 1.800
Diptera (flies, mosquitoes) 350.000 1.150
Heteroptera (bugs) 60.000 30
Homoptera (cicadas) 160.000 50
Hymenoptera (bees, wesps, ants) 350.000 100
Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) 850.000 500
Saltatoria (grasshoppers, crickets) 60.000 50
remaining insects 300.000 100

Entomological Collection online 

A number of insect drawers are digitized an can be examined here.

Online Database for Entomological type specimens

The online database for type specimens of our entomological collections is searchable here 

ASSOCIATED WITH the Department of Entomology are:

Entomologischer Verein Stuttgart 1869 e.V.

Arbeitsgemeinschaft südwestdeutscher Koleopterologen.

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