MSB Arthropods Home
Museum of Southwestern Biology
MSB Home Featured Student Activities General Info MSB Policy News & Events Support Us and Volunteering at the MSB Publication Series and Annual Reports Directory
Search MSB:

Arthropod Division
· About Us
· Contact
· Policy
· Collections
· Research
· Publications
· Staff
· New Mexico Arthropods
· Links
MSB Divisions
· Amphibians & Reptiles
· Arthropods
· Birds
· Fishes
· Genomic Resources
· Herbarium
· Mammals
· Parasites
· Natural Heritage New Mexico
· USGS Biological Surveys Collection
The MSB Division of Arthropods Collections

Specimen Collections. The dry pinned and microscope slide insect specimens are stored in Cornell style insect cabinets in the climate controlled Collection Room (dry collection) of the MSB Arthropod Division (MSBA). Other insects and arthropods that are stored in ethanol are housed in the liquid portion (wet collection) of the MSBA, located in the MSBA fluid collections area.

Research voucher and reference collections are maintained for UNM researchers for ongoing ecological research projects. Specimens within those research collections are maintained by both MSBA staff, and outside researchers. Research collection specimens may eventually be accessioned into the MSBA collection, or may be removed and housed in other museums once the particular research project has terminated. All research collection specimens incorporated into the Arthropod collection may be tracked through the specimen database. The accession of research collections must be approved by the Curator. A research collection agreement form must be filed before the MSB will provide facilities and services for research collections (see Research Collection Agreement Form). In general, all research collections housed in the Arthropod Division will eventually be incorporated into the Arthropod collection.


Specimen Loans. Whole specimens and tissues for molecular research may be borrowed from the MSBA collections. Please see the Policy page for details on the loan policy and process.

Specimen Database. Information about MSB Arthropod Division specimens is available through the SCAN (Southwestern Collections of Arthropods Network) portal, an NSF-sponsored Thematic Collections Network (TCN), Award ER 1207371. The records are in Symbiota, an open-source program designed by Ed Gilbert. Follow this link to search any or all of the collections in the network.

Work Space. Two working laboratories are available for arthropod research and educational activities. The Collection Work Room (Room 216) is the principal work space for activities involving the Arthropod Collection. The Collection Room is located adjacent to the Collection Work Room. The Collection Work Room provides table space, computers, microscopes, refrigerator and freezer space, and sinks. The Collection Room is considered a clean lab. The Collection Manager's office is also located adjacent to the Collection Work Room. The MSBA Library, and computer database are housed in the Collection Manager's office. The Arthropod Laboratory (Room 124) provides a working facility for specimens preserved in liquids, use of toxic chemicals, and processing of ecology field samples of arthropods in soil, plant foliage, or other materials. The wet arthropod collection is stored adjacent to the Arthropod Laboratory, and work with those specimens stored in ethanol can be conducted on lab tables. Air hoods are available for work with noxious chemicals and dust.

Live arthropods may be kept in a laboratory at the UNM Biology Annex, Room 111A. This live arthropod facility may be used to rear immature arthropods so that adults may be obtained for taxonomic studies. The live arthropod lab provides rearing cages, and incubation chambers.



Taxonomic Classification

Many different arthropod taxonomic classifications are available, and all classifications change over time. The MSBA has chosen to follow particular single classifications for various taxonomic groups of arthropods. We do not necessarily agree with all aspects of each classification, and some are already out-dated. However, we chose to follow certain classifications to provide reference standard classifications that can be cited and referenced by others. The MSBA will update classifications approximately every decade to keep up with ever chaning taxonomic methods and classifications. The MSBA follows and Arnett (2000), American Insects, CRC Press, for insect classification above the Genus rank, the Nomina Insecta Nearctica for the taxonomic classification of insects below the Subfamily rank. Various sources are used to classify the non-insect arthropods. The MSBA classification system utilizes only major taxonomic ranks because there are so many differences among published classification schemes within and between taxonomic groups. Taxonomic ranks including subfamily and above are organized phylogenetically, and genera and species are organized alphabetically below the subfamily level. The MSBA classification system, specimen organization, and the specimen database are all updated approximately every decade as new versions of the Nomina, American Insects, and other sources are released.

Taxonomic classification rank system used for the classification of specimens in the MSBA: Phylum, Class, Order, Suborder, Family, Subfamily, Genus organized alphabetically and Species (subspecies when applicable) organized alphabetically.



Arthropod Classification Sources


Arnett, R. H., Jr. 2000. American Insects. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

Poole, R. W. and P. Gentili, editors. 2003. Nomina Insecta Nearctica. Entomological Information Services, P.O.Box 4350 Rockville, MD.



Ubick, D., P. Paquin, P. E. Cushing and V. Roth, editors. 2005. Spiders of North America: An identification manuel. American Arachnological society. American Arachnological Society.

Coddington, J. A. and H. W. Levi. 1991. Systematics and evolution of spiders (Araneae). Annual Review of Systematics and Evolution 22: 565-592.

Platnick, N. I. 2002. World Spider Catalog v.3.0 .


Fet, V. 2002. Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758-1998). New York Entomological Society, New York.

Centipedes (Chilopoda), Millipedes (Diplopoda), Harvestmen (Opiliones), Psedoscorpions (Psedoscorpiones), Mites (Acari), Isopods (Isopoda)

Dindal, D. L., editor. 1990. Soil Biology Guide. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Aquatic Crustaceans

Smith, D. G. 2001. Pennak's Fresh-water Invertebrates of the United States. 4th edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY.