Entomology Research Guide

Welcome to the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives' Entomology Research Guide. This is a select list of mostly freely-available resources for students, teachers, and researchers to learn about entomology. Please feel free to Contact Us with suggestions for additional resources or with questions.  

Smithsonian Resources

  • National Museum of Natural History Entomology Collections: The US National Entomology Collection is the world's second largest with over 35 million specimens covering over 300,000 species. This site contains information about the collection profiles, their management, and a link to their specimen database.
  • Entomology and Invertebrate Zoology Libraries:  Three satellite Smithsonian libraries for Entomology, Invertebrate Zoology, and Crustacea with a collection of around 29,000 volumes. The libraries focus on the taxonomy, morphology, ecology, evolution, biodiversity, and comparative anatomy of invertebrates.
  • Natural History Research Guide: General subject guide for the Natural History Library featuring links to all Natural History libraries and related subject guides within the Smithsonian.
  • Entomology Illustration Archives: Digital archive of entomology illustrations created to support the research of the Smithsonian Institution's scientists.
  • Dazzling Diversity-The Insect World: Collection of 28 digitized Natural History volumes providing a glimpse into the wealth of scientific knowledge recorded in the descriptions and illustrations of published literature.
  • BugInfo: Collection of fact sheets about insects with topics ranging from the number of insects of the diseases they carry to insects as pets and food for humans.
  • Asiloid Files: Blog from the Smithsonian Entomology department which chronicles the research, people, and achievements of the department.
  • Science Teaching Resources (Life Science): Collection of Life Science related lessons, activities, literacy resources, and videos from the Department of Education at the National Museum of Natural History.
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System: Taxonomic database searchable by scientific and common names maintained through a partnership of U.S., Canadian, and Mexican federal agencies including the Smithsonian.
  • Databases for Science Research: List of science research databases from the Smithsonian Libraries. Many of the databases are free access, but others do require users to be onsite at a Smithsonian library or have Smithsonian network access.
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library: Online library featuring open access legacy literature from across a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries.
  • Encyclopedia of Life: Based on the idea of a webpage for every species, this multilingual resource provides multimedia information about a large subsection of life on earth.


  • Common Names of Insects: Database from the Entomological Society of America which allows users to search for both common names using scientific names and scientific names using common names.
  • Insect Information Sheets: Educational website from the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC-Davis provides downloadable information sheets about many common insects, and a few less common ones.
  • Bombus-Bumble Bees of the World: An in-depth reference all about bumble bees, this site from the British Natural History Museum provides information about classification, identification, and conservation.
  • Antweb: Online database featuring images, geographic information, and specimen records for over 11,000 species of ants from the California Academy of Sciences.
  • Universal Chalcidoidea Database: Database from the British Museum of Natural History featuring taxonomy, morphology, and terminology information about chalcidoid wasps, as well as a large collection of images
  • Grasshoppers-Their Biology, Identification, and Management: Resource for information on the biology, ecology, and identification of grasshoppers and Mormon crickets in North America including survey maps of their density per square yard in the Western USA.
  • Bug Bytes: Collection of insect recordings assembled by Richard Mankin. Example recordings include pine weevil, fire ant, and onion fly.


  • Butterflies and Moths of the World: Catalog from the British Natural History Museum of over 32,000 genus-group names of butterflies and moths with images of most families.
  • Butterflies and Moths of North America: Citizen science project with data about butterflies and moths, and their pupae, across the North American continent. Their database includes sighting location and date, as well as photographs submitted by the participants.
  • North American Butterfly Association: Association for people in North America interested in butterflies. Their site includes data from their butterfly counts, how to take part in the counts, and butterfly gardening and habitats.


  • Scorpion Files: Catalog of scorpions organized by family and species edited by Jan Ove Rein. Rein also maintains a blog covering scorpion news which is updated regularly.
  • SpiderID: Crowdsourced project to identify spiders from around the world. The project has over 6000 members, with more than 390 identified species from more than 8000 images.

General Resources

  • Animal Diversity Web (Insecta): Database featuring specimens, images, and recordings of thousands of animal species from the University of Michigan.
  • Wikispecies: Crowd sourced directory of taxonomic information about living things. Typical entries include family, genus, species, subspecies, and multi-lingual vernacular names.
  • Index to Oranism Names: Searchable index of millions of scientific names, both fossil and current, from the scientific literature.
  • Global Biodiversity Information Facility: Database for searching open access biodiversity data, especially species occurrence information, from across the world.
  • BIODIC: Collection of over 1600 biological electron micrographs ranging from scorpion stingers to birch pollen from the Université libre de Bruxelles.
Last Updated March 30, 2021