The EDNA fossil insect database (named after Edna Clifford who started the recording of new species on a card index system) is designed as an update of Handlirsch’s 1906-1908 “Die Fossilen insekten und die phylogenie der rezenten formen” which listed all the then known fossil insect species. Handlirsch recorded 5160 species in 1906; the EDNA database currently holds over 23200. The database is detailed in its contents: it records taxonomic information, synonym details, references for every species (including the page number where it is introduced), and for holotypes site details, stratigraphic information, and geological details are recorded. All the data has been obtained from exhaustive literature searches.
EDNA aims to be a complete, fully interactive, list of all the species of insect named from the fossil record, with site, geological age and reference for each holotype. Updating and checking will be on going, and the data available will be greatly improved if details of omissions and errors are sent to the administrator for incorporation.
Some of the species have been found from secondary sources and may not have been named from the fossil record. No full reference was given in the secondary source. These species should be deleted when shown to be extant.
My thanks are due to the librarians of the Natural History Museum, London and the Royal Entomological Society, The Linnaean Society for a travel grant, Ed Jarzembowski and Andrew Ross for continued assistance, Mark Sutton and the Palaeontological Association for getting the database onto the web, and my wife, Betty for putting up with years of boring fossils.
Tony Mitchell, joint EDNA administrator, July 2007
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