The Oregon State Arthropod Collection (often referred to simply by our acronym "OSAC") is a research collection of nearly 3 million preserved insect specimens. Begun in the 1870's as a reference tool for early entomology and general natural history classes at Oregon State University, the collection is now amongst the larger of university owned insect collections in the country and the largest insect collection in the Pacific Northwest. The collection's user-base has likewise grown, and today we serve the research needs of scientists not only here at OSU but from many parts of the United States and elsewhere around the globe.
The collection consists primarily of pinned insect specimens from the Pacific Northwest. However we do possess many non-insect arthropods, in particular we maintain an outstanding collection of mites (Acari) as well as a terrestrial/fresh water mollusc collection (the only non-arthropods in our collection). Specimens obtained from the PNW make up the majority of our holdings (in terms of 'specimens'), however our collection is taxonomically and geographically quite diverse, maintaining examples of many insect groups that do not occur here in the Pacific Northwest. As a result, we serve dual role for scientists -- providing unprecedented access to examples of our local insect/arthropod fauna, while allowing local scientists a resource where they can examine specimens from taxonomic groups from elsewhere around the globe.
The collection has grown primarily over the years through many accessions by many people. Much of our material originated as part of research programs here at Oregon State University others at other institutions in the Pacific Northwest; however local collectors have also made significant contributions (especially in popular groups such as Lepidoptera and Coleoptera). If you would like information about contributing material to the collection, please either contact us directly or see our "Guidelines for Donors", which runs through many of the common issues surrounding donations to the collection.
The OSAC is housed in Cordley Hall (see accompanying campus map) and is managed and staffed by faculty in the OSU Zoology Department. In general, the collection is open for use by researchers during normal operating hours of the university - but given our small staff it is strongly suggested that researchers wishing to use the collection contact us beforehand to ensure we can accomodate them. Non-researchers wishing to visit the collection should read our guidelines for "Planning a visit to the OSAC" and make plans in advance.