Through active field and laboratory research and management of our collection of 17 million specimens, we advance knowledge about Earth's insects and arachnids—taxonomic groups vital to healthy ecosystems.

Insects and arachnids account for more than four-fifths of all described species in the world. By participating in everything from multi-disciplinary biodiversity surveys to focused, ongoing projects around the globe, Academy entomologists continue to add to that number—and to our understanding of insect and arachnid roles and relationships—each and every year.

Since the department's founding in 1862, our collection has grown to become one of the three largest entomology collections in North America, encompassing approximately 250,000 species of insects, myriapods, and arachnids. Led by curators Brian Fisher, Michelle Trautwein, and Lauren Esposito, collection manager Chris Grinter, and research scientist Matthew Van Dam, today's department includes scholars, curatorial staff, postdoctoral researchers, volunteers, and students comprising a broad range of expertise.




Our collection houses around 17 million specimens, more than 18,300 of which are primary types.



Learn more about our areas of focus—active, ongoing research that seeks to answer some of the biggest questions in the field.

Entomologist Dave Kavanaugh on expedition with a waterfall in background


See where our research takes us, what partners we're working with, what impacts we've had on local communities, and what discoveries we've made thus far.



Our staff members study the biology, evolution, and distribution of insects, among many other focuses. Meet our curators, collections managers, fellows, and more.


Entomology Collection Reopening
The Academy has reopened the public floor, research collections, labs and offices. As of September 2022, Covid-19 safety protocols remain in effect. Protocols include providing proof of full vaccination (boosted, if eligible). Visits to the research collection are only for ages 10+. For additional inquiries and to schedule a research visit, please contact the collections manager at the email listed below.
About Us

Learn about our collections, history, and loan policies. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do we get our specimens? How can you volunteer? Can we ID this insect? 

Contact Us

Collection Loan Request Form

General Collection Inquiries:

Christopher C. Grinter
Collection Manager of Entomology
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
T: 415-379-5320 (direct)