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$2.7 million for South Australian museum to fight bugs in its bug collection
In the most recent outbreak in early September, some holotype specimens – the original physical example of a species – were infested.

ADELAIDE.- As part of the Mid Year Budget Review, the Government has allocated $2.7 million to the South Australian Museum, to stop a recurring infestation of beetles that could threaten its world-class insect collection. Anthrenus verbasci, also known as carpet beetles, are highly destructive, difficult to control and could threaten the irreplaceable specimens within the museum.

In the most recent outbreak in early September, some holotype specimens – the original physical example of a species – were infested.

Dr Jane Lomax-Smith, the Chair of the Board of the South Australian Museum, said the museum houses more than two million insect specimens, collected and described over the last 150 years.

“This funding will help to preserve our unique collection for local and international research.

“The collection is irreplaceable and its loss would cause a gap in our ability to understand Australian and global biodiversity” Dr Lomax-Smith said.

The SA Museum’s entomology collection is currently kept in cases that range in age from a few years to 100 years and now needs to be rehoused in cabinets specifically made for insect collections with sealed doors and drawers to provide two levels of protection.

Current pest management efforts are costing the museum more than $100,000 a year and have not been fully effective in eradicating the problem beetles.

Arts Minister John Hill said “This collection is absolutely unique – scientists from around the world in the fields of taxonomy, genetics, biodiversity, biosecurity, climate change and medicine rely on the collection for onsite research and international loans.

“We are investing now in the preservation of this irreplaceable collection so that future generations of scientists and researchers can continue this essential work.”

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