The Hymenoptera order includes well-known species such as bees, wasps and ants, which are among the most common animals on earth. An estimated 120,000 Hymenoptera species have been described to date.
The Hymenoptera collection contains around a million specimens including 6,000 types (the oldest from Fabricius and Latreille); 95% are preserved dry, the others in alcohol (especially Formicidae) or on microscope slides. The collection comprises 9 sections: Apoidea apiformes (21% of specimens) spheciformes (8%), Vespoidea (22%), Formicidae (10%), Chrysidoidea (2%), Ichneumonoidea (20%), Chalcidoidea (6%), various Parasitica (4%) and Symphyta (7%), along with around thirty authors’ collections (including Benoist, Berthoumieu, Bosc, Brullé, Dufour, Boyer de Fonscolombe, Ferton, de Gaulle, Giraud, Girault, Granger, Lepeletier, Lucas, Pérez, Pic, Saussure, Seyrig, Sichel, Vachal, etc.). The best-represented geographical zones are the Palearctic and Afrotropic regions (especially Madagascar, with the Seyrig collection) and the Nearctic region for some groups.
Houard’s gall collection and over 2,000 insect nests (especially social wasps; the oldest were studied by Cuvier) complete this collection.
The management, maintenance and expansion of the collections are overseen by Claire Villemant (lecturer and researcher) and Agnièle Touret-Alby (collection manager). One research officer (Quentin Rome) is responsible for monitoring invasion of the hornet species Vespa velutina and the website frelonasiatique.mnhn.fr. In addition, the collection welcomes temporary foreign researchers (Muséum guest researchers, Synthesys researchers) and around thirty visitors per year. Every year, an average of 1,200 specimens are loaned and several thousand new specimens are added to the collection; these mainly come from Europe and various tropical countries, thanks to the team’s contributions to biodiversity inventories (ATBI Mercantour, scientific expeditions by the Muséum such as Our Planet Reviewed) and material sent by several associate entomologists.
The collection material is used by many specialists for taxonomic revisions, systematic, phylogenetic and molecular studies, and expert studies in medical and agricultural entomology (parasitoids, pollinators). There are also partnerships with other institutes (CIRAD, IRD, INRA, IRBI, ECBL, ITV, etc.) and French and foreign universities.
Claire Villemant, Head of Collection
Agnièle Touret-Alby, Collection Manager