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Insects and Eriophyoidea:

The current task of Section of Entomology focuses on insect and mites collections from Taiwan and will gradually expand to include collections from the Asia Pacific region and other parts of the world. The section has placed particular emphasis on collection of specimens from the orders of Lepidoptera and Homoptera and maintains collections of pinned specimens, slide-mounted specimens, frozen specimens, alcohol-preserved specimens, nest specimens and gall specimens. At present, the whole collection contains nearly 400,000 specimens, including those retrieved from Malaise traps set up from mid-elevations to high-elevations in Taiwan, Bao-Sing Chang's collections and specimens acquired during insect surveys in Lanyu area.

A hoverfly resting on the leaf. A true bug exhibiting metallic luster.
A hoverfly resting on the leaf. A true bug exhibiting metallic luster.

Presently, the section has five researchers. Their work focuses on the taxonomy of Sphingidae, Pyralidoidea (Lepidoptera), Psocoptera, Miridae (Heteroptera) and eriophyoid mites. They also study interaction between insects and plants, including host plants of lepidopterans; ecology of adult insects and larvae; ecology of eriophyoid mites and their host plants; pest monitoring for museums; pest monitoring for greenhouses of botanical gardens; researches on the physiology and chemoecology of insects. Visiting researcher Dr. Man-Miao Yang is doing researches on galls and gall biology as well as collecting gall specimens. Another visiting researcher Dr. Yu-Feng Hsu is doing researches on phylogeny, biogeography and conservation biology of butterflies. There are one technician to assist in the collection, rearing and cateloging of insect specimens and 14 volunteers to help with the specimen management, including specimen preparation, preliminary sorting, data transcription and computer data entry. At times when full-time human resource is insufficient, these people have provided indispensable impetus for the advancement of the section.

In addition to specimens, the section also collects published literature pertaining to new species found in Taiwan and related identification publications and data informations relating to type specimens of Taiwan. Besides, it also exchanges specimens and related informations with others worldwide. By so doing, the division purposes to become an information center of Taiwan's insect specimens and literature, hoping to attract more people to use museum resources in support of their research.

With the help of Computer Science Division, the Section of Entomology established the Insect Collection and Data Management System and has since been able to manage and use collections and specimen-associated data in a more efficient setting. The multifunctional system allows staff to store and modify specimen-associated data and literature, print labels, conduct statistics, make inquiry and print reports etc... Presently, around 32,000 record entries about 100,000 specimens have been made and will be on-line for the use of other research institutions. The Taiwan Digital Archives program is under way, digitalizing the type specimens and important specimens maintained by the section. In the future, more data and literature pertaining to type specimens of local insect species and other important specimens will be collected and digitalized, allowing more people to use them on-line.

In addition to collection and research work, the researchers of the section often support exhibition and education activities in due time. They provide exhibition materials and specimens, write or review articles, and answer visitors¡¦ queries. They also give speeches, train museum guides and assist in the design of teaching plans and activities in line with science education and exhibition activities.

The science education and exhibition tasks that have been completed include "Taiwan's Butterflies," a long-distance teaching program, "Butterfly's Ecology," an element of the on-line Digital Museum program, and "Mega-Insects Park" and "Bugs Park," a special exhibition launched by the Museum.

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