Purdue Entomological Research Collection

Welcome to PERC

PERC Group

front row (from left): Mike Brattain, Carly Morris, Gareth Powell, Julie Speelman, Clare Scott, Tim Anderson
back row (from left): Greg Curler, Jen Zaspel, Jeff Holland, Luke Jacobus

Located in the east basement of Smith Hall, PERC is an integral part of the Department of Entomology at Purdue. Specimens housed in the collection are the basis for research in systematic entomology at Purdue and by specialists worldwide. The PERC also serves as a reference to facilitate the accurate and timely identification of insects for extension and teaching needs. Approximately 1, 800,000 specimens are held, representing more than 140,000 species. This includes mainly dry-mounted pinned material as well as many specimens stored in liquid preservative or mounted on slides.

With approximately 60% of material in the collection representing the Indiana insect fauna, the PERC is one of the most substantial resources for information pertaining to the insects of Indiana. Other notable components include the type collection comprised of more than 2,500 specimens, the Blatchley collection of Coleoptera and the Ephemeroptera collection, which is widely regarded as the largest and most comprehensive collection of mayflies in the world.


August 2014:

Dr. Zaspel travelled to the Russian Far East from July 21 – August 7th for vampire moth research.

July 2014:

Dr. Eugenio (Gino) Nearns started as our new Collections Manager. Gino was most recently a USDA postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC).

June 2014:

Dr. Zaspel and post doc Dr. Clare Scott are heading to the Evolution meetings in Raleigh, NC where they will be presenting their research.

Ph.D. student Tim Anderson receives a Collections Study Grant from the American Museum of Natural History. Congrats Tim!!!

May 2014:

Dr. Zaspel has been accepted to the NESCent Academy course 'Next-generation sequencing for phylogenetics and phylogeography' this July!


USDA APHIS PPQ personnel visit the PERC!  Chicago area invasive species detection specialists Scott Blackwood and Ryan Van Duzor worked in the PERC from May 20-23. They received advanced training in wood-boring beetle identification- mainly in the families Buprestidae, Cerambycidae and Scolytidae from USDA-APHIS PPQ specialist Robert Brown. The course was an intensive laboratory hands-on experience that spanned four days with sessions in dissection of specimens and identification to family, subfamily and species levels.


Ph.D. student, Ines Goncalves, from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, visited the PERC to examine material for her Ph.D. research.  The title of her dissertation is, "Phylogeny of the Euthyplociidae (Insecta, Ephemeroptera) with emphasis on the Brazilian genus Campylocia".



Tim Anderson was awarded an Ernst Mayr Travel Grant in Animal Systematics from the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ). This grant will be used to help fund an extensive museum trip which will include the Field Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of Natural History, the MCZ and the Cornell University Insect Collection so that he can prepare loan material from these institutions for his graduate research.

April 2014: Dr. Zaspel gave invited research presentation to the Biology Department at the University of North Dakota. The title of her presentation was, "Evolutionary Studies in Vampire and Tiger Moths (Lepidoptera: Erebidae)."

Dr. Zaspel receives travel award to attend the Phylogenomics Symposium and Software School at Evolution 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina!

Clare Scott travels to Indiana University-Bloomington campus to give a talk on her current and future research to the Moczek Lab.

March 2014: Gareth Powell and Mike Brattain received a grant to study the beetles associated with the Pocket Gophers in Newton Co. IN.

"Collecting in Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge"

"Zaspel lab day collecting in Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge"

"Zaspel lab working in Mississippi Entomology Museum, MSU Starkville"

"PERC collections technician, Gareth Powell with MEM curator Terry Schiefer"

"Zaspel and Brown labs day collecting at Black Belt Prairie in Osborn, Mississippi"

"Zaspel and Brown labs day collecting at Black Belt Prairie in Osborn, Mississippi"

March 2014: Zaspel lab travels to Mississippi State University to visit the Mississippi Entomology Museum (MEM), do some field work, and present current research to the Entomology Department. Big thanks to Dr. Richard Brown and his team in the MEM for hosting the visit!

February 2014: Dr. Zaspel visited the Lemmon lab at FSU for training in Anchored Phylogenomics. Probe design for tiger and vampire moths is under way. Thanks to Alan and Emily Lemmon for hosting!

February 2014: Dr. Zaspel travels to Purdue University-Calumet campus to give invited research talk in Biology Department.

"Gareth incorporating unsorted Nitidulidae into the main collection"

"From left to right...Kyle Schnepp, Gareth Powell, Paul Skelley, Mike Thomas, Mike Brattain"

January 18th - 25th Gareth Powell and Mike Brattain recently visited the Florida State Collection of Arthropods (FSCA) in Gainesville, Fl. The hospitality shown was above and beyond and made the trip very enjoyable and productive.

November 2013: Dr. Gino Nearns, USDA Postdoctoral Research Associate, National Museum of National History visited the PERC! Gino is an expert on Cerambycidae (longhorned beetles) systematics and taxonomy.

Dr. Jennifer Zaspel and her postdoc Clare Scott recently attended the Entomological Collections Network and Entomological Society of America meetings in Austin, TX. Dr. Zaspel presented two posters: “Geographic distribution and differential feeding behaviors of the fruit-piercing and skin-piercing moth, Calyptra thalictri Borkhausen (Lepidoptera: Erebidae)” and “Morphological assessment of tymbal microstructure in relation to acoustic communication in tiger moths (Lepidoptera: Erebiae: Arctiinae)”. She was also an author on three talks. Clare gave a talk on the study of the metabolomics and transcriptomics of the lichen moth tribe, which is being conducted at Purdue, entitled “Preliminary study of the transcriptomes and metabolite profiles of the lichen moth tribe Lithosiini (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Arctiinae).”

Clare Scott’s paper “A preliminary molecular phylogenetic assessment of the lichen moths (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Arctiinae: Lithosiini) with comments on palatability and chemical sequestration” is In Press at Systematic Entomology.

November 13-14, 2013: Andrew Bentley, Specify Software Usability Lead and Manager of the Ichthyology Collection the KU Biodiversity Institute (University of Kansas) conducted a workshop instructing Purdue Entomology and Botany staff and students on maximizing the utility of Specify 6, a relational database platform used by PERC staff to manage data pertaining to the research collection.

November 10, 2013: Paulo Vilela Cruz (Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil) visits the PERC to study the collection of South American Ephemeroptera.

August 4, 2013: Greg Curler traveled to Costa Rica to participate in the Diptera Blitz collecting event for the NSF-funded ZADBI project.

Thai Visit
July 8, 2013: Tim Anderson traveled to the Southwestern Research Station in Portal, AZ to collect insect specimens for phylogenetic research.

Thai Visit
June 4, 2013: Jen Zaspel traveled to Thailand to collect specimens of Calyptra and other Lepidoptera.

June 1, 2013: PERC launched Specify 6 as the collection database.

May 17, 2013: Greg Curler traveled to Mississippi State University to attend a North American Dipterists Society meeting and visited the Mississippi Entomological Museum.

May 15, 2013: Greg Curler is appointed as a Research Collaborator at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

May 13, 2013: Tim Anderson traveled to the American Museum of Natural History to attend a biological specimen informatics course.

Thai Visit
May 8, 2013: Tim Anderson attended the Specimen Bioinformatics Course at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, NY.

Smithsonian Institute
March 25, 2013: Greg Curler traveled to Washington D.C. to visit the Smithsonian Institution and assist with curating the USNM Psychodidae.

March 4, 2013: Jen Zaspel traveled to the University of Kansas to attend a workshop on the digitization of wet collections.

February 24, 2013: Tim Anderson traveled to the Illinois Natural History Survey to attend a Species File Software workshop.