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Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt

Entomology I

Main Coleoptera Collection   

  The beetle collection of Entomology I

The collections include three insect orders with specimens from all zoogeographic regions: Coleoptera (Beetles), Thysanoptera (Thrips) and Strepsiptera (Twisted-winged parasites).

With over 350,000 described species the Coleoptera or beetles is the largest insect order. Most beetles are easily recognised by their hard and stiffened forewings (elytra). They protect the vulnerable hindwigs and thereby make possible the colonisation of many habitats not open to most other winged insects like wood or bodies of water.

The main collection comprises about 1,8 Mio. beetle specimens. Among the taxonomic focuses of the Senckenberg collection are the families Cerambycidae or long-horned beetles (collections of ELLI FRANZ, BERNARD SCHWARZER and others), Gyrinidae or whirligig beetles (collection of GEORG OCHS), Eucnemidae or false click beetles (collection of WILHELM LUCHT) and Curculionidae or weevils (collection of BRONISLAW FOLWACZNY and others). Other parts of the collection have a geographical focus. These are, for example, the collection of palaearctic beetles by the famous chemist CARL BOSCH, a collection of beetles from Nepal by JOCHEN MARTENS and a collection from the Cap Verde Islands by MICHAEL GEISTHARDT. Besides of the main collection there is a local collection of beetles of the state of Hesse (HESSE/ CENTRAL EUROPE collection). This collection is maintained by the members of the Hessian Coleopterologists. It includes collections of the late HERMANN VOGT, WILHELM LUCHT, DIETER LIEBEGOTT and other former members.

The Thysanoptera or thrips comprises about 5300 minuscule species rarely exceeding 2 mm. Members of this order are recognised by a fringe of hairs on their wings. Thysanoptera feed on fungi, higher plants, spores, pollen or insects. They can cause considerable economic damage by feeding on crops and ornamental plants, forming galls or transmitting plant diseases.

In the course of his 40 years of research on the Thysanoptera, RICHARD ZUR STRASSEN accumulated a very comprehensive Thysanoptera collection, one of the three most important in the world. The Thysanoptera collection was substantially expanded by the addition of the collections of HEINRICH KARNY (1886-1939), HERMANN PRIESNER (1891-1974) and ERICH TITSCHACK (1893-1978). The Thysanoptera collection comprises about 270,000 specimens, most of them mounted on microscopic slides. The collection includes 2685 species of which 1556 are represented by holo-, lecto-, or paratypes.

The Strepsiptera or twisted-winged parasites form a small insect order of about 530 described species worldwide. The males are distinquished by hindwings that can be folded like a fan and by reduced forewings. The females are parasites which develop within the abdomens of other insects like bees and grasshoppers. They remain larva-like throughout their lives.

The Strepsiptera present in the collection stem basically from the important collection of RAGNAR KINZELBACH. The collection contains 1189 specimens representing 77 species of which 40 are represented by holo- or paratypes.

An overview of the collections kept in Entomology I is given by ELLI FRANZ (Senck. biol., Sonderheft B, 48: 55-72, 1967) and RICHARD ZUR STRASSEN (175 Jahre Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft, Jubiläumsband 2, Sektion Entomologie I, 87-95, 1994).