The Norris Center houses three distinct insect collections:
- The Randall Morgan Insect Collection includes approximately 72,000 specimens collected from 39 different locations in Santa Cruz County. In 1993, Morgan published a description of a new species of tiger beetle (Cicindela ohlone) known only to occur in several small patches of coastal grassland in Santa Cruz county. His efforts led to the eventual recognition of the Ohlone tiger beetle as a federally endangered species. The Norris Center is currently supporting graduate student projects that involve re-visiting some of Morgan’s original study sites to study changes in insect diversity and plant phenology.
- The Gerhard Ringel Butterfly Collection includes approximately 5,000 specimens collected from around the world. In addition to featuring butterflies from tropical regions throughout the world, the collection also includes many of the species from the central coast of California. Professor Ringel hand-raised many of the butterflies from eggs or caterpillars, resulting in perfect specimens with no wing damage. The late Gerhard Ringel was a professor of mathematics at UC Santa Cruz who had a passion for butterflies. In 2007, he donated his collection to UCSC.
- The Insect Teaching Collection includes approximately 5000 specimens with an emphasis on taxonomic diversity appropriate for teaching entomology.