Canadian National Collection

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Collection Management
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National Identification Service
The National Identification Service (NIS) is the portal through which specimens of insects, arachnids, nematodes and their relatives can be submitted to the taxonomists at the CNC to be identified. As such, the NIS is one of Canada’s first lines of defense in protecting its environment and biological resources, as the identification and classification of organisms is key to understanding our native biodiversity and threats that may destabilize it.
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The Canadian National Collection of Acari, including mites and ticks, is by far the largest such collection in Canada. Excepting taxa of ticks and mites parasitic on vertebrates, it is the largest collection of Acari in North America and perhaps the world. Approximately three million specimens of Acari (including some two million water mites) are curated in 50 cabinets, and about 350,000 slide preparations of mites and larval ticks are curated.
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The Coleoptera collection contains over 2.3 million specimens housed in more than 5600 drawers, making it one of the largest collections of its kind in the world. Over 85% of the collection is curated at the generic level and a large portion is curated at the specific level. Nearly 1800 primary types reside in the Coleoptera collection.
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The Diptera collection is considered one of the strongest segments of the Canadian National Collection of Insects. Over two million fly specimens are housed in over 4600 drawers, alcohol and slide cabinets, making it one of the largest Diptera collections in the world. Approximately 65% of the collection is curated to the level of species or species group, and over 80% of the collection is curated to the genus level. Nearly 4500 primary types reside in the Diptera collection
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The Hemiptera collection has over 850,000 bug specimens housed in over 4500 drawers and slide boxes, plus 8 alcohol cabinets and 17 slide cabinets, making it one of the largest Hemiptera collections in North America. Approximately 30% of the slide and alcohol collection is sorted to species group, 80% of the pinned collection is curated to the level of species or species group, and over 90% of the collection is curated to the genus level. Over 700 primary types reside in the Hemiptera collection, including 218 primary types of aphids.
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The Hymenoptera collection is one of the strongest segments of the CNC and one of the largest in the world. An estimated two to three million dried specimens are housed in about 250 cabinets and about 6000 drawers. There is a separate liquid collection of about 30,000 vials containing unidentified but partially sorted specimens in ethanol, estimated at around one million specimens, which is the source of most of the pinned material. There is a relatively small slide collection (fewer that 100 slide boxes - many only partly full) mainly of Chalcidoidea and a collection of 155 fossils in Cretaceous amber.
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The Lepidoptera collection contains nearly 1.6 million specimens housed in over 8000 drawers and represents one of the best research collections of Lepidoptera in the world. The collection contains mostly pinned adult specimens, but also includes a number of pinned dry larvae and a significant larval alcohol collection. Many of the adult specimens have associated genitalic dissections permanently mounted on microscope slides.
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Miscellaneous Orders
The smaller insect orders in the Canadian National Collection are organized into the miscellaneous terrestrial orders and the miscellaneous aquatic orders. The terrestrial orders in the CNC include the following groups: Orthoptera, Neuroptera, Siphonaptera, Collembola, Psocoptera, Anoplura, Mallophaga, Mecoptera, Thysanura, Diplura, Embioptera, Zoraptera and Canadian amber specimens. The aquatic orders include the Ephemeroptera, Odonata, Plecoptera and Trichoptera. The miscellaneous aquatic orders consist of 885 drawers and 83000 vials of which almost 60% are completely curated.
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The Nematoda collection is comprised of a type collection, a general slide and vial collection, and a voucher collection established to meet Canadian needs. Taxa are listed alphabetically by species, and include 4,990 primary and secondary types of 396 species.

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