Since the dawn of history, humankind has always searched for an underlying order in Nature. One man, Henry Townes, endeavoured to resolve the confusion in the classification of a particularly complex and diverse group of insects, the Ichneumonidae. His success in bringing order from chaos resulted in the creation of a unique database - a fully identified, sorted and representative global assemblage of these insects. This became the core of the American Entomological Institute (AEI), an organisation he founded and subsequently endowed to promote the study of parasitic wasps. Since its establishment, in 1963, the AEI has developed into the world's foremost resource for the study of Ichneumonidae and related wasps, groups of insects of inestimable value to mankind as common natural enemies of an immense range of insect pests.
The core of the AEI's collection is the Ichneumonidae, with holdings of 600,000 specimens amassed by Henry and Marjorie Townes, and subsequently enhanced by the donation of 237,000 ichneumonids from Clement and Betty Dasch. No other ichneumonid collection is more complete than the AEI, or as well-curated. It is the ultimate reference for students of the family. A particular strength of the AEI its collection of 2,600+ ichneumonid holotypes: unique specimens upon which the identity of a species is based. No other collection, even the long-established national museums, has such number. A recent addition to the AEI is the deposition of the Janzen/Hallwachs voucher collection of about 5,000 reared and fully databased ichneumonids, many of which have been sequenced yielding molecular "barcodes". Holdings of the related family, Braconidae, are also significant, consisting of about 176,000 specimens. There are 223,000 other specimens of Hymenoptera in addition to about 1,179 holotypes of other wasps.
The AEI's objective is to promote taxonomic research on the collection, and to make the resulting information available both in printed form and through the Worldwide Web. To achieve the first of these goals the AEI publishes two peer-reviewed series: Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute and Contributions of the American Entomological Institute. Both focus on arthropod systematics. Memoirs (started in 1961) deal with monographic studies or catalogues of 300 printed pages or more; Contributions (started in 1964) takes smaller papers. With the advent of the Worldwide Web, the AEI has begun to develop an on-line information resource, made freely available here as Genera Ichneumonorum Nearcticae. The aim of this site is to make available to the widest possible audience, concise factual information about the taxonomy and biology of North American Ichneumonidae.
The AEI is currently located in Gainesville, Florida where it occupies two buildings specifically designed to house the collection, library and associated personnel. The contact address is:AMERICAN ENTOMOLOGICAL INSTITUTE
3005 SW 56th Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32608-5047
The American Entomological Institute (AEI) is a research foundation, organized as a non-profit [501(c)(3)] corporation. Policies, budget, and property are governed by a Board of Directors.
|Officers and Directors of the American Entomological Institute
|Dr. Daniel Janzen: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
|Dr. Scott Miller: Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
|Dr. David Wahl: American Entomological Institute, Gainesville, Florida
|Dr. James Lloyd: University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
|Other Board Members:< />
Dr. Andrew Bennett, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
Dr. Andy Deans: North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
Dr. Robert Wharton: Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas
The AEI welcomes scientific visitors. Visits are by prior arrangement with the Curator, and for long term visits bench fees may be levied. Specimens may be loaned by arrangement with the Curator. The AEI offers, on a cost-recovery basis, an identification service for Ichneumonidae. Determinations will be undertaken at the AEI's discretion by arrangement with the Curator, to whom an initial approach should be directed.
|Dr. David Wahl
American Entomological Institute
3005 SW 56th Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32608-5047
|Dr. Hugo Kons
The American Entomological Institute exists to develop, manage and maintain an international resource for the study of Ichneumonoidea, comprising global reference collections and a comprehensive taxonomic library. The AEI will make rigorously referenced information derived from our resources available to a broad spectrum of users through the Worldwide Web and by the publication of peer-reviewed journals. Our aim is to become the definitive source of information about the taxonomy and biology of Ichneumonidae and their relatives, for the betterment of the knowledge of humankind.