The Laurentian Forestry Centre’s René Martineau Insectarium
Collections and databases
The René Martineau Insectarium (RMI) is the leading documentation centre on forest insect diversity in Quebec and eastern Canada. The RMI was established in 1999 to promote education and research on forest insects in the areas of biodiversity, taxonomy, ecology, established and emerging pests, and other branches of science. The RMI consists of an insect collection and a research laboratory, and its main roles are to assist with insect identification and to preserve and expand the insect collection from eastern Canada.
The RMI houses some 200 000 specimens, primarily forest insects, including:
- 2200 Coleoptera species
- 1158 Lepidoptera species
- 1584 Hymenoptera species (1143 ichneumonid wasps)
- 146 Homoptera species
- 189 Heteroptera species
- 108 Collembola species
- a smaller number of Blattodea, Orthoptera, Mantodea, Dermaptera and Odonata species.
The RMI also has a unique collection of 40 000 slides of over 900 insect species, both adults and larvae (stored in Archives Canada), including a database of 13 000 selected digital images of forest phytophagous insects and an expanding collection of digital images of the aleocharine beetle species, family Staphylinidae. In addition, the RMI has the best reference collection in Canada on the poorly known species of aleocharine rove beetles.
The RMI’s permanent collection consists of a main collection and a reference collection.
The main collection
The main collection includes ordinary specimens and type specimens (original specimens that an expert has examined, published and classified as belonging to a species previously unknown to science). Specimens assembled over the years in the course of the Forest Insect and Disease Survey program and other biodiversity research projects are deposited in the main collection.
Specimens in the main collection are in the public domain, and can therefore be consulted by any individual or group for research purposes on request. The specimens can be examined on-site with microscopes and binocular loupes. Specimen loans can also be arranged.
The reference collection
The reference collection consists mainly of Quebec species, and is a select group of specimens from the main collection whose species-level identification has been validated by experts. Each species is represented by 1 to 10 specimens. The collection is currently used as a reference tool for identifying Coleoptera; other groups of insects that are important to forestry may be added in the future. Reference collection specimens cannot be borrowed.
The René Martineau Insectarium databases consist of compiled data sets from selected insect species and specimens housed in the RMI collection and can be used to find information in such areas as exotic alien species and species of a particular taxonomic group (e.g., Lepidoptera), as well as images of particular insect group.