A journey in the European Chrysidid Collections

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A journey in the European Chrysidid Collections

Postby Euchroeus » 17 May 2012 15:47

Between 2009 and 2012 I visited all the most important European Chrysididae Collections, excluding Madrid, Krakow and London. Krakow will be my next visit, at the end of May. On internet you can find HI-RES images of the Chrysidids (and even types) housed in the Linnean Collection, while David Notton was so kind to send me informations, types and picture on some types housed in the British Museum London.
During this European tour I could examine the Chrysidid Collections of the following Museums: Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, Geneva, Kiev, Linz, Lund, Luzern, Paris, St. Petersburg, Stockholm and Vienna. I'm currently writing some articles on the types housed in different Museums (e.g. Luzern, Stockholm and Vienna) and I got a huge archive with pictures of the European types (about 800 types). I don't have time to clean and post all these images. But, if you have any question on these collections or on the type material housed, you can write to me. Museum are listed in order of importance:

Natur Museum, Luzern (Switzerland)

Walter Linsenmaier's Chrysididae Collection is undoubtedly one of the most important collection in the World. It can be considered as the most important for the number of type, taxa and specimens conserved. The collection includes more than 56,600 specimens, belonging to 2,410 taxa; 1,740 taxa are identified, 240 are indicated as 'new taxa' and 430 are undetermined. Particularly interesting is the total number of typical specimens: around 4,180 belonging to 752 taxa, of which 648 primary types (Holotypes and syntypes). I'm currently studying this collection. Linsenmaier had his own style, and I found 840 specimens labeled as "types", but not truly types; on the other hand some hundreds of "types" (mostly paratypes and syntypes) are not labeled. The problematics on Linsenmaier's types will be discussed in a separate post and article. Basically I found about 20 different cases related to false "types" which require a detailed discussion.

Linsenmaier described more than 700 taxa. Not all the types are housed in his private collection: many types are deposited in other private or public collection, as for example in the Natural History Museum in London, Museo de Zoologia da Universidade in São Paulo, Natural History Museum in San Francisco, etc.

The collection is in excellent conditions, with perfectly prepared specimens. Before entomologist, Walter Linsenmaier was a famous artist: his artistic vision is perfectly reflected in the arrangement of the specimens in his collection. Linsenmaier's Chrysididae collection included 6 separated collections: types-collection; synoptic-collection; general-collection; doubles-collection; Perraudin's collection and Naef's collection, plus some miscellaneus specimens left apart. Unfortunately, the boxes had different sizes and this had prevented their inclusion in Museum cabinets. In particular, the collection was conserved in 199 boxes, divided as follows: medium format 109 boxes (format 25 x 30 cm); 24 large (32 x 56), 56 medium-large (30 x 40); 23 small (19 x 26), as well as some other boxes of varying size with doubles specimens.

Starting from the beginning of 2012 I re-organized the entire collection, unifying all the collections together, and preserving the systematic order left by Linsenmaier in his synoptic-collection. I also labeled all the specimens with coloured labels "ex Perraudin Coll.", "ex Naef Coll.", "ex dubletten Coll.", "ex synoptic Coll.", and all the types. Moreover, I added a USI label to each specimen. In this way, it's possible to get all the electronical informations related to every Chrysidid in the collection (collecting events, type informations, year and page of publication, etc.).

Over the years I have had the opportunity to reorder Linsenmaier manuscripts, which include many descriptions of new species not yet published and two full revisions ever published. Many entomologists were aware of its revision of the Turkish Fauna (Niehuis, 2001), but perhaps few know that Linsenmaier had also wrote a revision of the species of the sub-Saharan Africa.

Other informations will be published on a preliminary article and, possibly, in a dedicated volume.

NaturMuseum, Luzern
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Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de Paris (France)

It's the most important historical European Museum for Chrysidids, with the largest number of types, specimens and collections. During my stay in Paris I wrote a catalog on the types housed in the collection with observations and notes on their status, to facilitate their recognition to the staff of the Hymenoptera section. In total I examined 450 primary types. For reasons of time, I could take pictures and study carfully only the types of Southern and Central European species, with particular reference to the Italian fauna.

As we all know, it is very difficult to move through the collections in Paris Museum. I was able to examine the following ones: General Collection (fused with the Collections of: du Buysson, Lucas, Lepeletier, Serville, Brullé, and with some types of Chevrier, Ducke, Fabricius, Mocsáry, Radoszkowski, de Saussure, Spinola, Tussac, Zimmermann), Abeille, Chobaut, Dufour, Ferton, Giraud, Pandellé, Peréz and Pic Collections, which are all kept separate, even in different cabinets in the Hymenoptera section or in other entomological sections.

I was not able to find the types of: Latreille, Coquebert and Olivier, which should be lost because not labeled, and the Marquet Collection, which, however, turns out to be present in another section.

Important works and catalogs on this collection were published by du Buysson (1897, 1898).
The visit has yielded important information on the types, which will soon be published.

Paris (MNHN).jpg
Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle
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Magyar Természettudományi Múzeum, Budapest (Hungary)

It contends to Paris the role of Europe most important historical Collection. During my first visit I calculated about 490 primary types housed in the collection, for a total of primary and secondary types belonging to 900 taxa. The Collection includes about 18.000 specimens from around the World. Almost all types has been described by Alexander Mocsáry, but there are also types of Lasló Móczár, Bingham, Ducke, Förster, Kiss, Linsenmaier and Nurse. The Collection is conserved in excellent conditions and, in recent years, was already studied by Bohart & French (1986), who designated many lectotypes, as well as by Móczár, who has published several articles on the material housed in the Museum.

Budapest Museum
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The Zoological Museum of the Zoological Institute
St. Petersburg (Russia)

It 's the most important Museum of Natural Science in Russia and houses the most important Collections of Chrysidids. There are about 20.000 specimens, with more than 350 primary types (Kimsey & Bohart, 1990). The collection is in good condition, although the specimens are all badly pinned, making difficult their study. The core of the collection was created by Andreas Semenov (also known as Semenow or Semenov-Tian-Shanskij), who described most of the species known to the Central and Western Asia. His work was continued by M.N. Nikolskaya during the 50s and 60s. Semenov's articles are well written in Latin, accurate, with a valid scientifical background and more or less clear. Nikolskaya used the unpublished specimens studied by Semenov for her publications, which are very poor and badly written, having described dozens of new species without any dichotomic key, drawing, analysis of the species, etc.. Most of the characters described are common to all species belonging to the same species group and do not allow any identification, therefore a review of the Semenov Collection is crucial. Nikolskaya's articles are written in Cyrillic, as the Soviet system imposed at that time, and this has limited their knowledge in Europe.

Even the curatorial work done by Nikolskaja in the Semenov collection is doubtful and most likely to be revised. In fact, during the study of the Linsenmaier Collection, I found many specimens labeled as "types", received in exchange by Nikolskaya and taken from the Semenov Collection. After a subsequent control with the original descriptions, it turn out that Nikolskaya had pinned many specimens with the labels "paratypus" even if they are not truly types. It's therefore necessary also a control of the type material housed in the Collection.

Zoological Institute, St. Petersburg
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Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (Germany)

The Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin is the most important Museum for Chrysidids after Paris and Budapest. It houses about 300 primary types, some of which are very important because described in the eighteen and nineteen century by Rossi, Klug, Förster, Dahlbom and Mocsáry.
Today the collection includes types of Bischoff, Dahlbom, Förster, Klug, Mocsáry, Radoszkowki, Rossi and Trautmann. There are many types of exotic species described by Bischoff. The collection is well conserved. Only Trautmann's types related to the Chrysis succincta group are missing. It's possible that the entomological box containing these types has been destroyed due to bombing during the Second World War, while the collection was moving in a safe place. Some Förster's types were destroyed by attacks of dermestid Beetles, mould, and carelessness in past years.
An important work on this Collection was published by Bischoff (1910).

Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna (Austria)

The Chrysididae Collection in the Naturhistorisches Museum is one of the most important. It is subdivided in 2 collections: "general Collection" and "Zimmermann's collection". The general one includes historical material collected by Kohl, Kolazy, Handlirsch, Megerle, Blühweiss, Hoffmann, Hammer, Kaufel, Mader other Austrian collectors. It was studied by the most important chrysidologist, in particular by Fabricius (1804); Dahlbom (1854); Mocsáry (1889, 1893), who visited the Museum and received in study part of the collection; Buysson (1901); Trautmann (1927), who examined great part of the collection; Móczár, who visited the Museum several times and published conspicuos data (Móczár, 1964a, 1964b, 1965, 1968, 1996, 1997, 1998a, 1998b, 2001); Kimsey (1986) and Bohart, who selected some lectotypes (Kimsey & Bohart, 1991). The general collection is also very useful for the examination of distributional data (Rosa & Zettel, 2011).

The private Collection of Stephan Zimmermann is stored in the same cabinet, but left apart. It is even larger than the general collection and it is in perfect conditions. Zimmermann was a very active entomologist; he wrote more than 20 articles dealing with Chrysidids, mostly related with the Austrian fauna, included the “Catalogus Faunae Austriae” (Zimmermann, 1954). He described many species and he wrote important contributions to the Fauna of Madagascar as well as interesting papers on African Chrysidids. He was in contact with contemporary entomologists like Balthasar, Bohart, Krombein, Mavromoustakis, Mochi, Kusdas, Löberbauer, Mader, Hammer, Hoffmann, Steinmann and exchange material with them. Three taxa were dedicated to him: Chrysis zimmermanni Balthasar, 1953; Hedychridium zimmermanni Balthasar, 1953; Stilbum calens ssp. zimmermanni Linsenmaier, 1959.

The general collection is housed in 18 large boxes, which are in fairly good arrangement subdivided in genera and subgenera sensu Mocsáry (1889) and in alphabetical order. A modern arrangement would make easier the access to type material and specimens and a general revision of the material is needed. The general collection includes around 6,500 specimens, 108 types belonging to 78 taxa: 45 holotypes, 20 syntypes, 13 lectotypes, 28 paralectotypes, 3 neotypes. The Zimmermann Collection is housed in 59 entomological boxes and includes about 20,000 specimens specimens belonging to 860 identified taxa, with 154 types belonging to 58 taxa: 13 holotypes, 55 paratypes, 62 syntypes, 4 lectotypes, 19 paralectotypes, 1 neotype. In total 25 specimens labeled as “type” or “cotype” are not truly types. After the Linsenmaier's Collection, the Zimmermann Collection is the best organized Collection I could examine.

I was in Vienna 4 times I have to thank Dominique Zimmermann, Herbert Zettel and Michael Madl for their help and support. The Vienna Museum is unique in his historical style and Vienna is one of the most beautiful European capital. I recommend a visit to the city and the museum!

Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm (Sweden)

The Chrysididae Collection in the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet is one of the most important historical Collection in Europe. Even if it is not rich in types and specimens, it includes several important types described by Dahlbom.

The Collection is divided in two parts: “World Collection” and “Swedish Collection”. Other specimens are found in separated historical collections (e.g. Boheman's Collection). The World Collection is conserved in 15 large boxes and it was reorganized by myself between January and February 2012 in taxonomical and alphabetical order sensu Kimsey & Bohart (1991). All the types were labeled with red labels. The general collection includes 1,700 specimens and 74 types belonging to 54 taxa: 30 holotypes, 20 paratypes, 10 syntypes, 5 lectotypes, 8 paralectotypes, 1 neotype. Unfortunately the original identifications by Dahlbom are lost. His original identifications were probably removed after a subsequent reorganization of the collection in the nineteen century. Many interesting data related to the types conserved in this collection have been found. I designated some lectotypes and neotypes which will be soon published with the help of the curator Hege Vårdal.

I was in the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet in 2010 and 2012. The curator, Hege Vårdal, and the staff of the Museum were very kind and supported me during my stay in Stockholm. The Museum is one of the best European Museum I visited and the city is simply fantastic. I recommend a visit to the city and the museum!

Museum of Zoology, Lund University (Sweden)

In the Museum of the University there are two Chrysidid collections, the General Collection (which you can find on the internet) and the Dahlbom Collection. I spent a few days to examine only the Dahlbom's Collection, which is one of the oldest and most valuable in Europe. Dahlbom published his observations and studies on Chrysididae on four publications: Exercitationes Hymenopterologicae, Monographia Chrysididum Sveciae (1831), Dispositio Methodica Specierum Hymenopterorum. Particula II – Chrysis in sensu Linnæano (1845), Syd-Africanska Chrysides (1850), Hymenoptera europaea praecipue borealia (1854). The last one is considered as a landmark in the study of Chrysididae. For the first time he provided keys to genera and species and a valid attempt to order all the known informations on Chrysidids at that time. In total he described 213 new taxa (Dahlbom, 1854: x) more than 150 still valid (Kimsey & Bohart, 1991: 3) and his descriptions were used as models for that time. Dahlbom examined Fabricius types housed in Kiel and in Vienna, Klug types in Berlin and Spinola types from his private collection. He also received types from other Authors (i.e. Dufour). While studying his works I found some interesting observations on types, which were forgotten in the last years, probably because written in Latin.

The type material is housed in his private collection, which is conserved apart from the main collection. It consists of 2 entomological boxes (n°27 and 28) but other Chrysidids can be found in other boxes in his Collection (box n° 19 and 20). The Collection is going to be moved in the new Universitary building. Currently the collection is still housed in Dahlbom's old cabinet (see the picture). Other important collections are found in Lund (e.g. Thomson's Collection). I could examine Dahlbom's material thank to the help of the curator Roy Danielsson.

The Chrysidid Collection is available here:

Zoological Museum, Natural History Museum of Denmark,
University of Copenhagen (Denmark)

The Hymenoptera Collection is one of the most famous in Europe. In fact, it houses the collection of J.C. Fabricius. The Museum also houses other collections, but I had not time to examine all of them during my visit. The Chrysidid Collection of the Museum is divided into several parts, from the collections of Fabricius to that of the types by other authors. The entire collection is available online (http://www.zmuc.dk/EntoWeb/collections- ... optera.htm).
I was focused on the material described by Fabricius and some other types of European Chrysididae described by Dahlbom and Mocsáry. The type material of Fabricius is obviously well-ordered, and I could examine it without any problems thanks to the help of the curator Lars Vilhelmsen. Although Fabricius' types should be well known by all the entomologists, I found many surprises that will soon be published.

Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de Genève (Switzerland)

It is one of Europe's most important historical Collections. Here are conserved the Chrysidid Collections of Frey-Gessner, Chevrier and Tournier. The first two entomologists have made a major contribution to the study of the family, compiling important papers on the Swiss Chrysidids, as well as describing new species. The collection is housed in 32 boxes entomological and includes primary and secondary types of 80 taxa. In the collection there types described by Mocsáry and Abeille, who donated some syntypes to Tournier.
My stay in Geneva was possible thanks to help given by the curator, Bernhard Merz. An article on the type material of this collection is planned for the next future.

Biologiezentrum Linz (Austria)

The Biologiezentrum was the most unexpected discovery of my entomological trip. I do not know how many specimens are here conserved, but several thousands, probably more than in any other collection, excluding Linsenmaier's one. The museum houses primary and secondary types of about 60 taxa.
The collection has grown exponentially over the past 50 years, thanks to the exceptional support of entomologists as J. Gusenleitner, J. Schmidt, M. Schwarz, J. Heinrich, R. Löberbauer, K. Warncke, W. Aigner, A.W. Ebmer, F. Koller, Holzschuh, F. Ressl, H. Hamann. The largest part of the material was Collected in Central and South Europe, in Northern African Countries, in Anatolia and in the Middle East up to Iran. The Collection is well organized and identified by W. Linsenmaier and J. Schmidt. Linsenmaier left in this collection hundreds of specimens labeled "Type" (Holotypes, Allotypes and Paratypes) which were never described. The main part of these specimens was collected in Anatolia, and it was related with his unpublished volume on the Turkish Fauna.

In the last years, under the curatorial work of Fritz Gusenleitner, some thousands of Chrysidids arrived in the Collection. They include material collected by the Halada family, K. Deneš, Z. Padr, and many other European Collectors. The material arrived in the last 15 years is still unidentified and stored in 35 large entomological boxes (45 x 52 cm).

The type material housed in the Collection is listed here: www.landesmuseum.at/en/seite-1-en/samml ... ntomology/

Other informations on the Chrysidids housed in the Biologiezentrum can be found here:

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Paolo Rosa - www.chrysis.net
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