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Kinsey Gall Wasps

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The Kinsey Collection is one of the greatest assets of the American Museum of Natural History (New York, USA). The collection is made up of 5.5 million oak-gall inducing insects (Cynipidae: Cynipini), 1.25 million inquilines, which lay their eggs in the galls made by others, and 0.25 million galls. From México alone, Alfred Kinsey described more than 130 species of cynipd wasps in three years (Pujade-Villar et al., 2009).

Kinsey devoted his academic life to the investigation of gall wasp taxonomy for more than 20 years. By the time of his death, he had examined more than five million specimens. In addition to collecting large numbers of specimens, Kinsey also measured these tiny specimens under the microscope and noted a variety of differences between them. Because of Kinsey's interest in speciation and biogeography, he needed to collect specimens from diverse regions.

The Kinsey Collection has not been well documented in spite of its great scientific and cultural value. The lectotypes of many species are not designated and the physical arrangement of the collection, which is scattered, makes access to the Kinsey Collection difficult. Kinsey’s work was incomplete; he left many species undescribed but labeled with manuscript names because in 1937, he left entomology to devote himself to studies on human sexual behavior. According to Pujade-Villar et al. (2009), the generic placement of several species is doubtful and needs revision. The species from Mexico were revised by Pujade-Villar and Ferrer-Suay (2015), who made some taxonomic changes.

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