The Canadian National Collection (CNC) of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes is considered one of the best collections of its kind in the world in terms of size, species representation, and level of curation. It is maintained and developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as part of its systematics research program, and is housed in the K.W. Neatby Building in Ottawa. The collection is estimated to contain approximately 16 million specimens systematically arranged in 1400 steel cabinets. Specimens are stored mostly as dry-mounted pinned specimens, but certain groups (e.g. larvae, aquatic insects, spiders, mites, aphids, midges, fleas, etc) are stored in liquid preservative or mounted on slides. The majority of specimens are from throughout Canada and North America, but significant holdings are present from other biogeographic regions.
The Lepidoptera collection of nearly 1.6 million specimens is 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. The slide library is stored in cases as depicted at right. A recent estimation of the inventory of lepidoptera, and other details about the collection and staff may be seen here.
The CNC has contributed photographs of adult moths and of genitalia to be used in many scientific publications as well as on websites such as MPG. Examples of genitalia photographs may be seen in the newly established MPG Genitalia Library. Photographs of adult specimens will be found on many MPG plates, species pages, and on the list below.
MPG has since its inception in 2004 been indebted to the Canadian National Collection for photos of Arctiid and Noctuid moths, and only a bit more recently when the Geometridae were added to the Moths of Canada website known as CBIF.
Most of the early photography was done by Jim Troubridge who has lately retired as collection manager at the CNC. More recently many photographs have come to MPG through the efforts of Jocelyn Gill and Don Lafontaine who have offered to bring the photo library for the Noctuoidea very close to completeness. This was accomplished in July of 2011 when my wife and I visited the CNC to photograph specimens. Don and Chris Schmidt selected from the collection and had waiting for us nearly 500 specimens of Noctuid and Geometrid moths. Don also made available more than 100 photographs of Noctuoid type specimens. These are now on MPG plates and species pages and are shown in the collection presented here.
Also shown here are the first 500 photographs of larvae made from 35mm slides, part of a large collection housed at the CNC. We plan to expand this marvelous contribution from the CNC in the coming months. There may be as many as 900 species to be represented. ~ Bob Patterson