The General Entomology Collection housed at the museum consists of all insect orders, except Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. The collection is relatively small compared to that of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera with a total number of approximately 130,000 specimens, with the most significant holdings being of Hymenoptera Apocrita, Orthoptera and Neuroptera.
The early growth of the collection, which then included Lepidoptera and Coleoptera, was mostly due to collecting trips made by individuals like Dr H. G. Breijer and Mr C.J. Swierstra. One of the most significant acquisitions to the collection was the collection of Hymenoptera Apocrita sold to the museum by Dr Brauns of Willowmore for the amount of £1500. The Brauns collection boasts over 10,600 species represented by about 70 000 specimens and approximately 900 types.
The collection had some notable moments throughout its existence. Dr E.C.G. Pinhey, who briefly worked at the then Transvaal Museum in 1948, produced a monograph on Southern African Dragonflies (Transvaal Museum Memoir No. 5). The Odonata collection received a major boost in the form of a donation by Prof. B.I. Balinsky of his private collection, and as a token of gratitude an Associate Membership of the Museum was extended to him in 1984.
After the death of Lepidopterist Dr Georges van Son in 1967, the General Entomology collection was separated from Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. After the split, the first curators organised an exchange with the Natal Museum in Pietermaritzburg which saw the greater part of the Diptera material go to Natal, with the important butterfly collection of K. M. Pennington being received by the Transvaal Museum. In 1975 Dr M.J. Scoble, until recently Keeper of Entomology at the Natural History Museum, London, was appointed curator of General Entomology. The position was filled by Dr R. B. Toms in 1984, who concentrated on Orthoptera, with special emphasis on sound communication of crickets and who made over a thousand recordings that can be associated with specimens in the collection.
To visit or study the collection please contact Dr Martin Kruger (firstname.lastname@example.org)