Research Collections of the Zoological Institute RAS — Coleoptera

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Coleoptera Collection as a part of the general insect collection dates back to the Kunstkammer (cabinet of curiosities) founded by Peter the Great (1714). Initially, it was created by means of purchases of foreign collections and arranged more in the aesthetic rather than a systematic order. In the second half of the XVII century the first scientific works on the Russian fauna based on this Collection were published by P.S. Pallas. During the XIX century the Collection was growing drastically due the tremendous materials collected by famous expeditions of I.G. Voznesensky (Far East, North America); R.K. Maak, G.I. Radde, and A.L. Czekanowski (Eastern Siberia and the Amur region); N.M. Przhevalsky, V.I. Roborovski, P.K. Kozlov, G.N. Potanin, and G.E. Groom-Grzhimailo (Central Asia), D.K. Glazunov, A.P. Fedtschenko (Turkestan) and other voyagers. Owing to these materials organized and partly investigated by E. Ménétriés and A.F. Morawitz the Collection gained a great scientific significance by the end of the XIX century.

At the turn of the XIX and XX centuries A.P. Semenov-Tian-Shansky, G.G. Jacobson, V.B. Barovsky, T.S. Tschitscherin, F.A. Zaitsev, and later A.N. Reichardt, D.A. Ogloblin and F.K. Lukjanovitsh played a great role in its replenishment, organizing and investigation. After the World War II until nowdays, most of the work on the Collection has been performed by the employes of the Coleoptera Department: M.E. Ter-Minassian, A.A. Richter, L.V. Arnoldi, O.L. Kryzhanovsky, E.L. Gurjeva, V.A. Zaslavsky, G.S. Medvedev, A.K. Chistyakova, M.G. Volkovitsh, B.A. Korotyaev, A.G. Kirejtshuk, B.M. Kataev, A.L. Lobanov, S.V. Andreeva, A.V. Frolov, A.G. Moseyko, and A.M. Shapovalov.

In the second half of the XX — early XXI century, the Collection has been greatly enriched with the voluminous material collected by numerous expeditions to the poorly explored regions of the USSR, Russia and foreign countries. A great contribution to the study and arrangement of the Collection was made by famous coleopterists V.I. Motschulsky, N.N. Plavilstshikov, S.I. Medvedev, A.A. Lyubishchev, I.K. Lopatin, L.N. Medvedev, A.V. Alexeev, V.G. Dolin, S.M. Iablokoff-Khnzorian and many other researchers. The Coleoptera Collection served as a basis for numerous fundamental works in the coleopterology for nearly 250 years.

Coleoptera collection of the Zoological Institute is one of the richest in the world in the number of specimens, geographical coverage, and taxonomic composition. It includes almost all groups of the Coleoptera world-wide, especially these of the Palaearctic fauna, and in the richness of Transcaucasian, Middle and Central Asian species it is unique. The collection of the families Curculionidae, Carabidae, Chrysomelidae, Scarabaeidae, Tenebrionidae, Cerambycidae, Buprestidae, Elateridae and some others is most species rich and diverse.

The Collection contains about 6 million of mounted on the pins and labelled specimens, including type specimens of several thousand nominal species and subspecies. The number of specimens stored on cotton layers and in alcohol is likely to be much higher. Mounted specimens are stored in standard wooden boxes with glass lids or in cardboard boxes (usually those from private collections or unidentified material), standing in wooden cabinets; unmounted material is stored on the cotton layers in wooden, cardboard or plastic containers. Coleopteran larvae and pupae are stored in the vials filled with alcohol in glass jars.

The main sources of the Collection development are the field trips, purchase or donation of private collections, and scientific exchange. The general Collection includes completely or partly the private collections of G.G. Suvorov, B.E Yakovlev, G.G. Rybakov, S.M. Solsky, A.P. Semenov-Tian-Shansky, V.N. Lutshnik, F.K. Lukjanovitsh, T.S. Tschitscherin, V.N. Stark, V.N. Stepanov, N.G. Skopin, Y.D. Kirshenblat, V.B. Shavrov and many other professional entomologists and amateurs. Currently, the organizing and incorporation in the general collection of the recently acquired largest private collections are in process (e.g., the collections of O.N. Kabakov, A.I. Cherepanov, A.V. Alexeev, S.V. Ovchinnikov). Field trips to various regions of Russia and abroad are conducted with the financial support from Russian Foundation for Basic Research and special programs of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

 

Collection Curator

Dr. Mark Volkovitsh, Leading Research Scientist of the Laboratory of Insect Taxonomy

E-mail: Mark.Volkovitsh@zin.ru
Tel.: +7 (812) 328-12-12, ext. 283
Coleoptera Department, Laboratory of Insect Taxonomy, Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
199034, Russia, Saint Petersburg, Universitetskaya nab., 1