Clemson University Arthropod Collection


Welcome to the Clemson University Arthropod Collection. A history and brief description of this collection are provided below. An evolving Searchable Database (Scientific names ONLY) currently catalogs approximately sixty percent of the holdings in this collection. Also you can take a Virtual Tour (over 600 specimens) of some of the many arthropods we have on public display. A searchable list of South Carolina moths and pictures of many South Carolina Moths and North American moths are also available.

The original Clemson University Arthropod Collection began sometime in the 1890's shortly after the College opened. Unfortunately, the original collection was lost when the building in which it was housed burned in 1925. The present collection and state faunal survey were initiated in 1926 by Mr. Franklin Sherman who continued as curator of the collection until 1947.
Other curators and major contributors and their dates of active cooperation included Mr. David Dunavan (1927-1956), Dr. O.L. Cartwright (1925-1948), Miss Frances McAllister (1930-1974), Mr. J.A. Berly (1910-1957), Dr. J.M. Todd (1921-1940's), Mr. J.O. Pepper (1919-1950's), Dr. V.M. Kirk (1951-1970), and Dr. R.C. Fox (1958--1981). The Collection Director, Dr. John C. Morse (, has had responsibility for the dried and slide insect collections since 1974 and for the alcohol arthropod collection since 1982.
The Arthropod Collection supports teaching, research, and extension activities of the University. Its educational displays are used to enhance University courses and are viewed by up to 10,000 persons from outside the University each year, either as visitors to the Collection or as participants in demonstrations at off-campus venues. Voucher and study specimens document the species used in University research. The identified specimens of the Collection serve as reference material for identification of the nearly 1,000 samples submitted each year by people from throughout South Carolina.
The collections consists of about 102,000 pinned insects identified at least to genus and another 36,000 pinned adult insects roughly sorted to various categories above the generic level. There are over 45,000 vials of specimens preserved in ethyl alcohol and over 29,000 specimens on microscope slides. The South Carolina State Faunal Records contain state reports of species of insects and other arthropods (also of mollusks, echinoderms, coelenterates, protozoans, and fish) from 1926 to the present.
Visitors are welcome to tour the Collection (Rooms 312-314 Long Hall, 8:00 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Friday except University holidays). Tours may be arranged either through the Clemson University Visitors Center (864-656-4789) or the Collection Director, Dr. Morse ( (864-656-5049).