A journey in the Italian Chrysidid Collections

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A journey in the Italian Chrysidid Collections

Postby Euchroeus » 14 May 2012 22:24

Between 2003 and 2009 I visited all the most important Italian Chrysididae Collections. During this Italian tour I could examine the Collections housed in the following Museums (in order of importance): Genoa, Milan, Turin, Bologna (2 Museums), Rome (2 Museums), Naples, Portici, Verona, St. Pierre (Aosta), Trento, Ferrara, Bergamo. After few years, I decided to write some notes taken during my visits. Some informations have been already published (Milan, Ferrara, Genoa partim), but at the moment I don't have time to publish catalogues and observations on the other Museums; however some dedicated publications are planned for the next future. If you have any question on this collections, you can write to me.

Museo Civico di Storia Naturale "G. Doria", Genova

The Museum of Natural History in Genoa holds the most important Italian Chrysidid Collection both for its historical interest and the number of conserved specimens. The position of worldwide prestige is ensured by the large number of types housed, described by eminent entomologists as Magretti, Gribodo, Guérin-Menéville, Abeille, Du Buysson, Mocsáry, Radoszkowski, Enslin, Ducke, Zimmermann and Invrea (Rosa, 2009). It is not an exaggeration to say that around this Museum was born and has developed the study of the Italian Chrysidids. Excluding few Italian entomologists who have occasionally described some species (J.A. Scopoli, P. Rossi, M. Spinola, A. Costa), the most illustrious hymenopterologists who published basic informations for the knowledge of our cuckoo wasps were entomologists somehow related to the Doria Museum. Among these entomologists I remember Giacomo Mantero, Paolo Magretti, Giovanni Gribodo and Fabio Invrea, but many other naturalists gave a major contribution to the knowledge of our fauna, as the director Giacomo Doria, Armando Baliani, Cesare Mancini, Arturo Pandiani, Leopoldo Ceresa and Emilio Berio, Giovan Battista Moro, whose comments were collected and published by Mantero and Invrea.

The collection has grown thanks to celebrated entomologists and naturalists, who have contributed significantly to the realization of a collection so important due to collections made from natural campaigns abroad: Leonardo Fea, Medana, Orazio Antinori, Ettore Bayon, Eugenio Ruspoli, Vittorio Bottego, Gian Battista Comotto.

With the Invrea Collection, the museum has acquired one of the most important historical collections. It includes many specimens collected during several years of researches, many types obtained by exchange from A. Mavromoustakis, S. Zimmermann, E. Enslin and H. Bytinski-Salz. But the most significant part was received as a gift from Giovanni Gribodo after his death. Gribodo, regarded as one of the most illustrious hymenopterologist got in exchange several specimens from his colleagues, among all Du Buysson and Abeille (who dedicated some species to Gribodo himself), Mocsáry, Radoszkowski, Wesmael and Ducke; he also bought the Chrysidid Collection of Guérin-Menéville, with all his types.

In recent years new Collections contributed to increase the number of preserved specimens and improve the knowledge of the Chrysidids of Piedmont and Liguria: the Collections of Gian Battista Moro, Emilio Berio and Nicola Sanfilippo.

Nowadays the collection includes about 15,000 specimens. It is in excellent condition, although some specimens from the Guérin-Menéville Collection are partially ruined by Dermestid Beetles, as already evidenced by Invrea (1948). The collection is divided into 2 sections: "General Collection" and "Invrea Collection", each one is again subdivided into "Palaearctic" and "not Palaearctic".

In 2006 I re-organized the entire collection and the final publication should be printed in the next future. My studies on the Chrysidid types is already published (Rosa, 2009): viewtopic.php?f=10&t=2767

Genova Museo Storia Naturale.jpg
Museo Civico di Storia Naturale "G. Doria"
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Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano

The collection of Hymenoptera Chrysididae housed in Milan is, without any doubt, one of the best Italian collections both in the number of species and the number of specimens; it can be considered the most important comprehensive collection after the one conserved in the Museum of Natural History in Genoa. The collection includes over 8650 Chrysidids, belonging to 286 taxa, housed in 53 standard entomological boxes (26 x 59 x 6 cm). The Italian specimens are over 7000, while the remaining 1600 come almost exclusively from other European and Mediterranean countries, with a small number of specimens from Eastern Afrotropical Region, Neotropical Region and one specimen of the Nearctic fauna. Few types are conserved, belonging to 4 taxa: Cleptes mareki Rosa, 2003 (holotypus), Hedychridium tyrrhenicum Strumia, 2003 (paratypus), Chrysis schmideggeri Rosa, 2004 (holotypus) and Chrysis paglianoi Strumia, 1992 (7 paratypi).

The Collection includes several Collections bought or donated to the museum since 1950. Among these the most important ones I here list:

1. the Collection of Lucio Micheli, with over 120 Chrysidids studied by Invrea;

2. the Collection of Leopoldo Ceresa, with over 1800 specimens perfectly prepared, which embraced also the collection of Armando Baliani, with over 1400 specimens, and the collection of Cesare Mancini, with over 950 specimens; Ceresa's Collection is also important because it includes material collected in different Italian Regions: Abruzzo, Calabria (Invrea, 1941b), Lombardy (where he had a residence in Mercallo, at Comabbio Lake), Lazio, Piedmont, Sardinia (Invrea, 1952), Tuscany (where he lived for a while in his mid 40's) and Trentino-Alto Adige. The Collection includes specimens collected Baliani especially in Piedmont and Liguria (Invrea, 1920, 1921, 1922), while Mancini's Collection consists of specimens collected in Valle Scrivia between Casella and Varinella (Liguria and Piedmont), and in Perugia, where he lived for some years.

3. the Collection of Augusto Dodero, with over 400 Chrysidids, mainly collected in Calabria during in his famous Entomological trip dated 1933 and studied by Invrea (1933).

4. the Collection of Vincenzo Ferri, comprising about 120 Chrysidids from Piedmont, and in particular from Ticino Park (Rosa 2002b), and several interesting notes on their ecology;

5. the Collection of Marco Berra, with about 1300 specimens, of which more than 1000 from Asia Minor (140 exx.), Cyprus (56 exx.), Crete (370 exx.) and Greece (460 exx.), almost all of statements and for the correctly determined.

6. the Collection of Paolo Rosa, including one part of my Chrysidid collection from Aosta Valley, including approximately 350 specimens.

You can find more informations on this collection in Rosa Paolo (2005) "I Crisidi (Hymenoptera, Chrysididae) del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano" Natura, Milano, vol. 94 (II): 128 pp.:

http://www.chrysis.net/chrysis/research ... index.html

Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino

The Chrysididae Collection in the Turin Museum is divided in 2 part: Spinola's Collection and general Collection.The hymenopterological collection of Maximilian Spinola, currently owned by the Museum of Zoology Systematics, University of Turin and preserved at the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences, is without doubt one of the most important collections in Europe. It includes 399 specimens. Among these, 121 are typical specimens, described by Spinola himself and Dahlbom, at the very beginning of the historical studies on Chrysidids.

Spinola's Collection is not in a good state. Before moving into the new boxes, it suffered heavy attacks of Dermestid Beetles, which severely damaged many specimens, even types, until their complete destruction. The first attacks are already attributable to the period between the death of the entomologist and the visit of Abeille (1876). The collection was subject to mold and must also have suffered various mechanical damages, probably bump or fall, which caused the separation of various parts (head, abdomen, legs and antennae) of various specimens. In some cases, the separate parts have been pasted on a label in bpx n° 52. The collection is organized according to the typical way of that time; each species was represented by a limited number of specimens, from 1 to 5, whose data were reported on a single label on the bottom of the series. This label has a different color, depending on the continent of origin of the specimens: white for Europe, yellow for Asia, blue for Africa, green and pink for the Americas and Oceania. Each label bears the generic and specific names, the author of the species, the donor's name or the collection place.

Spinola received a lot of material in study, in exchange as a present by various authors and contemporaries, e.g. Dahlbom and Wesmael, as well as by several entomologists, naturalists and merchants of his time, who traveled through the world and sold the insects collected. Among the specimens conserved in his collection there's a hight number of insect collected by famous collectors, such as: Klug, Megerle, Ghiliani, Waltl, Fischer, Westermann, Draege, Gay, Rambur and many others.

The General collection includes the Chrysidid collection of Alessandro Mochi. This is an impressive collection, which includes more than 5.000 specimens collected by the famous Italian doctor in North Africa, Middle-East and the Mediterranean islands. The Mochi collection was largely revised by Franco Strumia. In the General collection there are some thousand specimens collected in Piedmont by various collectors and the colllection (or part of it) of the Austrian Entomologist Hammer.

Museo dell'Università di Bologna, Istituto di Entomologia "Guido Grandi"

The Museum houses the Insect Collection of Guido Grandi, the most famous Italian hymenopterologist. It includes about 1,300 specimens well prepared and conserved in 18 standard entomological boxes (26 x 39 x 6 cm) plus 12 entomological boxes with the biology of different Hymenoptera. These last boxes are well organized, with nests of various Hymenoptera, guests and Chrysidids observed inside the nests. These boxes represent the only interesting aspect of the collection and are directly related to the biological studies made by Grandi. The systematic collection is rather uninteresting, with common species mostly collected in Emilia-Romagna. The collection was studied by Fabio Invrea and therefore requires a general reorganization. Systematics and nomenclature adopted reflects the one used by Invrea in his personal Collection, now housed at the Museum "G. Doria" in Genoa.

Museo di Zoologia e del Museo di Anatomia Comparata dell’Università di Bologna

It includes only few specimens from the old Museum Collection. The most interesting specimen are related to the publication of Gribodo & Invrea (1924) on the Hymenoptera collected in Cirenaica (Lybia) by Prof. Ghigi "(Imenotteri Aculeati di Cirenaica Raccolti dal Prof. Alessandro Ghigi durante l'escursione organizzata dal Touring Club Italiano 15-24 Aprile 1920). Within this material is still present the type of Chrysis cyrenaica.

Museo Civico di Zoologia, Roma

An important Chrysidid Collection is housed in the Museum of Zoology in Rome. It includes approximately 2,350 specimens, which I rearranged in 14 entomological boxes (standard Italian format 26 x 39 x 6 cm). The core of the collection includes specimens collected primarily from two famous entomologists: G. Lepri, and F. von Biegeleben. Other specimens arrived after donation of various entomologists: Vita, Patrizi, Butti, Garavaglia, Luigioni, Castellani and Bondimai; a small batch of specimens were found in various boxes of the general collection, including some coming from '"Old Museum" and Manzone Collection. The collection is fairly representative of the Italian fauna, including specimens from Northen Italy (in the Biegeleben Collection) and from Center Italy (Lepri Collection).

The Biegeleben Collection is the largest in terms of numbers with more than 830 Chrysidids. Most of the identifications were clearly erroneous, while only few correct species correctly identified were received in exchange or donated by other entomologists. In his collection, in fact, there were also several specimens collected in Spain and Italy by Dusmet, Mancini, Mantero, Mochi and Friese. Almost all specimens were collected by Biegeleben on the Alps near Bolzano (Appiano, Gries, Renon, Calvario, Bolzano). The collection includes also some specimens collected by Biegeleben in the former Italian colonies in Africa.

The second important collection is the Lepri Collection. It includes 770 specimens. Lepri (1910 and 1911) has published the first faunistical work on the Chrysidids from the Latium Region, listing among 51 species and varietas. Most of the specimens were correctly identified, but the Elampini were often wrongly identified: for example, under the name Hedychridium sculpturatum Abeille there were different species belonging to 3 different genera: Hedychridium, Hedychrum and Holopyga. Lepri (1910: 39) wrote that some specimens were identified by Du Buysson and for this reason he was sure of the correctness of the identifications. Unfortunately I could not find any identification label written by Du Buysson and possibly Lepri has removed the labels of his French colleague. Compared to his Catalog (1910) and the following "Additions to the Catalog" (1911), the collection is much richer in species and specimens collected during the following years.

At the end, I found many interesting distributional data, with important findings which will be published in the next future.

Museo di Zoologia dell'Università degli Studi ‘La Sapienza’, Roma

The Museum houses a small Chrysidid Collection with around 600 specimens, of which 400 identified and conserved in 7 standard entomological boxes. The Collection was studied and organized by Fabio Invrea and therefore requires a modern reorganization. There are some interesting specimens collected in Latium.

Museo dell'Università di Napoli Federico II

The museum is famous for hosting the legendary Collection of Costa father and son. This Collection is rather small and it was entirely studied by du Buysson. A. Costa described 6 species of Chrysidids, one for Sardinia and the others from various Countries around the World. Unfortunately I have not been able to find any type. It 'possible that the types are lost after the examination of du Buysson or during their expedition in the past time. The types have not been found even at the Museum of Paris, where I searched for them during my first visit. Fortunately, thanks to du Buysson, we know that the type of Chrysis laborans Costa, 1865, one of the most common African species, corresponds to the type of Chrysis heros Buysson, 1891, according to what was stated by the same French entomologist.

Museo dell'Università di Portici

Small University Museum housing the Collection of Prestifilippo and few other Chrysidids collected by Ceresa and Mavromoustakis in Calabria and in Cyprus. The material was studied by Invrea and although it includes very few samples it's quite interesting.

Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Verona

The Chrysidid Collection of this Museum has been ordered by me and Maurizio Pavesi. It includes about 1,400 specimens, mostly collected in Italy (approximately 1,100 specimens); other specimens have been collected in Austria, Spain, France, Croatia, Greece and Turkey (in total 250 exx.), then with occasional findings of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Mozambique, Nigeria and Somalia. The largest part (over 600 specimens) were collected in Veneto by various entomologists, among which: M. Burlini, active in the period between the two world wars, who gathered material near Treviso, G.B. Cartolari, who collected few Chrysidids, but some of them very rare as Chrysura trimaculata and Chrysis calimorpha near Verona, in the years around World War II; L. Farello, in the '70s gathered a lot of specimens around Verona between Torricelle Novaglie and, in addition to Albisano; L. Beretta, who collected in the 70s a many specimens at Torri del Benaco, as well as entomologists M. Daccordi, G. Osella and A. Sette, not specifically interested in Chrysidids; their material was collected in Veneto and in other entomological trips in Greece and Turkey and includes some interesting findings. Many other intersting specimens were collected in Tuscany (180 exx.) by F. Gerini and in Piedmont (150 exx.) mainly by G. Della Beffa, who in the '30s collected in the Susa Valley various rare species, including Euchroeus purpuratus.

A new article on this collection is planned together with M. Pavesi for the next months.

Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, St. Pierre (Aosta)

The Museum houses a large collection of local Chrysidids. It includes more than 850 Chrysidids donated by myself to the Museum after the publication of the Volume on the Fauna of Aosta Valley.

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Il Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali di St. Pierre, sito nel castello
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