The entomological collection of the Zoological Museum Hamburg has a moved past, which is dominated by the vast destruction it suffered during WW2 in 1943. Before the bomb attacks in 1943, which destroyed large numbers of especially the holometabolous insects, the collection had grown to about 1 ½ million specimens and more than 10 000 type specimens. Parts of the collections date back to the large scale collection activities of Hamburgs‘salesmen in the 19. Century. While most of the collection of hemimetabolous insects and the alcohol collection were evacuated the majority of holometabolous specimens were destroyed together with the catalogues, so that we cannot reproduce which specimens, especially types were lost.
Today the collection has grown to about 4 million specimens thanks to the purchase and donations of large private and commercial collections and own collections as well as student field trips and cooperation with other scientists. The collection is well known internationally reflected in the high numbers of loans and visitors. Especially the remaining old material is o2f high scientific value as it is the legacy of members of the Hamburg Natural History club of the early 19th century. Especially interesting and valuable are the excellent collection of German beetles ging back to Gustav Adolf Lohse, the Trichopterans of Georg Ulmer, the butterflies of Georg Warnecke and the Heteropterans of Eduard Wagner, just to name a few. Additionally, the entomology department hosts an interesting collection related to pest insects and cultural artefacts of insectsgoing back to the activities of Herbert Weidner.
With about 4 million specimens, largely dried material, the entomological collection ist he largest at the CeNak, which constantly grows thanks to the donation of private collections and newly collected material. The collection is currently rearranged and type catalogues are written in order to make the collection more easily accessible in the future.