Just before Christmas I completed a draft catalogue of the type specimens in Manchester Museum’s Dermaptera (earwig) collection.
The museum has about 11,000 Dermaptera including type material for 276 species.
There are 60 trays of earwigs in 3 cabinets, where they are laid out by genus, and within genus by species.
The dried specimens are either pinned directly, or glued onto card which is on a pin.
Information from the labels was transferred to the catalogue –
The labels make fascinating reading – some of the earliest species for which types are represented here were described in the first few years of the 20th century. Its likely they were collected years before publication, making them well over 100 years old. Some were gathered by individuals, others by scientific expeditions. There is hardly anywhere they do not come from. Going through species alphabetically, even before we get into the ‘D’s we have such locations as:
|Uttar Pradesh, India||Venezuela||Gabon||New Caledonia|
|Burma||Phillipines||Kenya||Dutch New Guinea|
|South Africa||Ecuador||Zaire||San Francisco|
|Sudan||Lesser Sunda Islands||Bolivia||Sarawak|
|Madagascar||Uluguru Mts, Tanganyika||Seychelles||Uganda|
|New Hebrides||Bhutan||Sumatra||Costa Rica|
The reference for the original publication of each species was checked (the first line under the bold heading) and an initial foray made into identifying their current taxonomy. For some of the species, many revisions have been made to their taxonomic name since their original description. Ensuring this information is correct will be a much longer project for someone else.
Thanks are due to Dr Dmitri Logunov, Curator of Arthropods, for suggesting and guiding me through the project.