Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt

Entomology II

The “section for entomology” at Senckenberg was founded in 1822 by citizens of the city of Frankfurt am Main who were interested in this special topic. The first chairman was Carl von Heyden (1793–1866). For nearly a century the “sectionaries” (the heads of the section for entomology) were voluntary and thus unpaid workers, until in 1919 the first employed (part-time) custody was created. The initial compensated entomologist was the well-known lepidopterist Adalbert Seitz (1869–1938). After his death in 1938, Elli Franz (1896–1983), a female entomologist and specialist for beetles, was the first full-time paid entomologist and head of section. After her retirement, the formerly unified section was split in 1967 and 1969 into four entomological sections:

  • Entomology I which covers Coleoptera, Thysanoptera, and Strepsiptera.
  • Entomology II which always was primarily concerned with Lepidoptera, 1969–1995 under Dr. Heinz G. Schroeder, since December 1st, 1995 under Dr. Wolfgang A. Nässig, but it also covers numerous other insect orders.
  • Entomology III deals with Hymenoptera.
  • And, from the 1960s to the 2000s, Entomology IV or Aquatic Entomology, which was working chiefly on Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and some more limnic groups (not the Odonata which are covered by Entomology II), and also, having been the main group of the section most rich in species, Diptera. Now, this field is covered by the Institute and Department of Limnology and Conservation Research in Gelnhausen about 35 km to the East of Frankfurt am Main.

Formerly, when all entomology was concentrated in one section, lepidopterology (the study of moths and butterflies) was one of the main topics (see E. Franz, 1967, „Geschichte der entomologischen Sektion“ [“History of the entomological section”], Senckenbergiana biologica 48 [Sonderheft B]: 55–72). Adalbert Seitz, editor of the famous unfinished series “Die Großschmetterlinge der Erde” (“The macrolepidoptera of the world”, published in 16 volumes in hundreds of fascicles between 1909 and shortly after world war II), was between 1919 and his death in 1938 always connected to the senckenbergian entomology, first as part-time custos, later as an unpaid volunteer.

When, on January 1st, 2000, the research departments of Senckenberg were newly arranged, the sections Entomology I–III were transferred from the dissolved Invertebrate Department into the Department of Terrestrial Zoology, while section Entomology IV became part of the new Gelnhausen Department and Institute, see above. — A separate “Department of Entomology” or “Arthropology” (as in many other museums) did not exist over the last decades.