Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

NOTE: As of 2014, the California Beetle Project page is no longer updated. The original database and list of California beetles in the menu on the left will remain for the time being, but the information contained within is not necessarily current. SBMNH Entomology Curator Matthew L. Gimmel has divided up the function of the original database into two conceptual halves:

  1. The SBMNH Entomology specimen-level database, including all SBMNH beetle specimens included in the CBP database, which is now available (and ever-growing) through the ecdysis portal at

  2. A literature- (and available specimen-)based checklist.
  3. of the Coleoptera of California, which is being revised and re-compiled by Dr. Gimmel, and, as of January 2017, is about 85% complete.

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    • Beetle links

Funded in part by award DEB0447694 from the National Science Foundation to M. Caterino.

Last updated 01/16/2009

 California Beetle Project > Collections


This project was based on extensive fieldwork throughout central and southern California. These collections added greatly to the holdings of the Museum's entomology collection, and now form the bulk of it. The beetle collection has gained standing as an important repository of central and southern Californian species. Many new specimens represent previously (and many as yet) undescribed beetle species, while others represent significant range extensions for known and rarely collected species.

A significant result of the phylogeographic component of this project was a large collections of DNA vouchers. The large sample sizes and precisely georeferenced localities to go along with mitochondrial DNA sequence data for each represents a rich resource for studying geographic variation.

While adding over 100,000 prepared beetle specimens to the Museum's collection, this work also resulted in large collections of unprepared arthropods from all groups. Residues from flight interception traps, Malaise traps, pitfall traps and litter samples contain many thousands of flies, wasps, ants, arachnids, myriapods, and other assorted arthropods. Most litter samples were berlese extracted directly into 100% ethanol, and may yield specimens suitable for molecular work. Residues are otherwise maintained in 80% ethanol, and having been collected into 80% or propylene glycol are not likely to yield molecular quality specimens. All residues are available for loan by specialists who wish to look for particular taxa.

An Excel spreadsheet detailing the entomology freezer inventory (as of February, 2014) can be downloaded here:

Entomology Freezer Inventory

 Pterotus obscuripennis

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