MCZ Type Database

Piotr Naskrecki pnaskrecki at OEB.HARVARD.EDU
Thu Nov 30 11:47:26 CET 2000

Dear Taxonomic Community,

We are pleased to announce a new development and a significant expansion of
our online Primary Type Specimen Database at the Entomology department of
the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. The most significant
change is the addition of over 4,000 high quality images of primary type
specimens. At this point we have completed documenting the entire collection
of long-horned beetles (Cerambycidae), with over 520 photographed types. The
next group to be added shortly will be the Buprestidae, followed by
Chrysomelidae and butterflies.

Each type record in the database contains information on the taxonomic
placement of the species, the authorship, the species¹ current combination
(if data are available), label data, the type of specimen preparation, and
the biogeographic region. The images associated with each record include the
general habitus of the insect (lateral and dorsal views), close-ups of
diagnostic characters, and all labels associated with the specimen. In some
cases the label photographs have been digitally enhanced to reveal faded
text, no longer visible on the actual label.

We realize that in some cases no photograph will substitute a physical
examination of the type specimen (e.g., one often needs to examine hidden
genitalic structures), but in more cases than not a set of high quality
photographs, together with appropriate identification keys, will be
sufficient to establish the identity of the species. Frequently, our
photographs are the first illustrations of the species, and for most species
the first in color.

We welcome you to visit our database at
<> and send us your comments
or suggestions. We hope that our effort may become an example of how museum
type collections can be made more easily accessible to the scientific
community worldwide. If you are interested in developing a similar database
for your type collection, please don¹t hesitate to contact us.

With best regards,
P. Naskrecki, P. Perkins, and B. Farrell
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

Primary Type Specimen Database, Entomology Dept., Museum of Comparative
Zoology, Harvard University

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