Today's hours: 12pm to 5pm 216.231.4600
The King of Dinosaurs

Invertebrate Zoology

Internationally recognized research programs focused on praying mantises and parasitoid wasps

The Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is devoted to the study and curation of its entomology collection (insects) and its malacology collection (mussels and snails).



Entomology: Approximately 1 million specimens, primarily from the northeastern United States and collected beginning in the early 1900s, are a highly important record of the invertebrate biodiversity of our region. A subset of our holdings is global in coverage and includes tropical beetles, butterflies, and other insects. Currently, the department is home to the largest collection of praying mantises (Mantodea) in the Western Hemisphere, rivaling a couple of major collections in Europe (over 13,000 specimens).
Malacology: Approximately 75,000 marine and freshwater shell specimens. The term Malacology is the branch of Invertebrate Zoology that deals with mollusks, including mussels, clams, snails, limpets, and other related organisms. Much of the Museum's freshwater malacological collection was collected before 1970, and therefore represents an important historical record of shelled organisms prior to widespread depletion of naturally occurring populations. 
Visit Freshwater or Marine Malacology collections.


Current research in the department employs modern morphological and molecular-based approaches to address the systematics, taxonomy and evolutionary biology of praying mantises (Mantodea) and parasitoid wasps (Braconidae). Leveraging the Museum’s extensive collections, along with collections from other major institutions in the United States and Europe, as well as the Museum’s DNA lab for sequence data generation, department scientists have built internationally recognized research programs supported by federal funding from the US National Science Foundation. The department is also home to the Long-term Butterfly Monitoring Survey, a project to observe and record butterfly diversity and abundance in the state of Ohio.
6. Systematics of Parasitoid Hymenoptera

Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeast Ohio

Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeast Ohio is a comprehensive field guide published by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Learn more and purchase your copy today!


The Department of Invertebrate Zoology is a center for student training in insect systematics and strives to involve volunteers. Undergraduate students interested in a paid summer internship in this discipline are encouraged to investigate the Kirtlandia Research Internship Program. Potential graduate students may examine advanced degree opportunities within the Department of Invertebrate Zoology through the biology department at Case Western Reserve University (contact the curator for availability of positions). The number of positions is limited for students and volunteers and based on the availability of time and funding.

Interested in visiting the department, obtaining more information on our holdings, or making a loan request? Contact the Collections Manager of Invertebrate Zoology.

Curator of Invertebrate Zoology: Dr. Gavin Svenson

You may contact Dr. Svenson at, or call 216-231-4600 ext. 3315.