Insect and mite collection

Insect & Mite Collection

The NSW Insect & Mite Collection maintains one of the largest and most comprehensive agricultural insect and mite collections in Australia. Over 500,000 specimens of pests and beneficial organisms, as well as native species covering a wide range of invertebrate groups are held.

The primary focus of the insect and mite collections are invertebrates of relevance to humans and include, insects, mites, snails and a selection of other arthropods. These are physical specimens of pests along with their collection data, like host plants and interactions, and where and when they were collected. The collections provide reference species, distribution, and host information on a range of important organisms. They also support important diagnostic, research and educational outcomes. The ongoing maintenance of these collections underpins trade and market access for plants and plant products within Australia and internationally.

  • More than 450,000+ pinned insects
  • 32,000 slide-mounted mites and smaller insects
  • 30,000 specimens stored in alcohol
  • 2000+ type specimens of insect and mite species
  • A range of historical illustrations, images and paraphernailia, including illustrations and paintings by EH Zeck.
  • Formal collection acronym: ASCT Includes former NSW Forests insect collection FCNI
  • CITES collection registration number AU073
  • Collection managed to ISO:9001(2015) certification standards

Collection services

The Biosecurity Collections offer a number of services, including specimen vouchering and imaging, diagnostics, culture sales and specimen preservation.

For more information and pricing please visit our collection services page.

Scientific illustrations

The Collections hold illustrations and artworks related to plant pests, diseases and mushrooms.

We are working on digitising these holdings to share online. They have value as both scientific tools and heritage items, but also simply as beautiful pieces of art and a testament the skill of their creators.

These scientific illustrations and other select works are available for purchase through Redbubble

EH Zeck

A collection of coloured insect paintings completed by entomologist and scientific illustrator EH Zeck during his employment with NSW Department of Agriculture.

Margaret Senior

A collection of coloured illustrations of plant diseases and disorders painted by artist Margaret Senior. These were commissioned in the 1960s by the then Department of Agriculture  for use in the "Ag Facts" Bulletin. We are working to digitise the bulletins also.

The Biosecurity Collections are protected by the Agricultural Scientific Collections Trust Act (1983), which safeguards the collection for future generations.