The Entomology collections at the KU Biodiversity Institute are estimated to contain over 4.8 million pinned and labeled specimens plus approximately 87,000 specimens mounted on slides and nearly 40,000 vials containing varying numbers of specimens that are permanently stored in this way (total of approximately 4.5 million specimens in arranged collection). Specimens in the backlog, individual specimens stored in lots in alcohol, unsorted specimens in bulk storage, and other types of unsorted specimens are not included in the specimen count.
There are approximately 27,000 microscope slides of insects, some entire insects (Mallophaga, Anoplura, Siphonaptera, Thysanoptera, etc.), but many of dissected parts (chiefly Cicadellidae and other small Homoptera). The collection of Acari consists of some 60,000 slides; about 40,000 are labeled and identified to various taxonomic levels (family, genus, species), while about 20,000 slides are not yet sorted to family.
Specimens in alcohol include more than 30,000 vials of the Kansas Biological Survey collection (excellent and comprehensive collection of aquatic insects from the mid-plain states), the entire spider collection, a large collection of immature insects (mainly bee larvae, larval crane flies, and lepidopterous larvae), a variety of soft-bodied insects in many orders (e.g., Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera, some Diptera), and numerous non-insect arthropods other than spiders (phalangids, centipedes, millipedes, scorpions, etc.). Unsorted alcohol-stored material includes some 2,000,000 mites from a southern Brazilian forest, and perhaps 1,000,000 from other places.
We have recently made substantial progress in mounting and labeling of specimens from our backlog. Nonetheless, though most material relevant to current research programs has been prepared, there are still thousands of specimens dried between layers of cellucotton, other thousands in collections made by light trap, Malaise trap, or extracted from soil by Berlese funnel. The pinned collection is stored in about 144 delta-style steel cabinets, the slides in standard (100-slide) boxes on open shelves, and the vials in larger jars on shelves.