Couple to donate $10 million insect collection to university

By |  March 23, 2017
Photo: Deanna Dent/Arizona State University

Photo: Deanna Dent/Arizona State University

A couple from Green Valley, Ariz., is donating their collection of 1.25 million insects to Arizona State University, reports USA Today’s Over the last 60 years, Charlie and Lois O’Brien have amassed one of the largest private insect collections in the world, which is reportedly valued at $10 million.

The O’Brien’s, who both hold a doctorate in entomology, have garnered insects on each continent and in 70 countries — Charlie mostly gathering weevils and Lois taking on planthoppers. Now, in their 80s, they believe it’s time to turn over the specimens to researchers.

“We’re not kids, and we’re aware sooner or later, we’re not going to be able to work with the collection,” Charlie O’Brien says.

The couple decided to donate their collection toArizona State University because of their 20-year relationship with Nico Franz, an associate professor in the School of Life Sciences, according to

About 1 million of the insect species in the collection have been identified, which leaves about a quarter of a million yet to be identified, Franz says.


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