Database of Invertebrate Pictures
Slovenian Museum of Natural History
HISTORY OF THE INVERTEBRATE DEPARTMENT
The oldest entomological collections go back to the very beginnings of the foundation of the
Kranjski dezelni muzej, the Carniolian Provincial Museum, in 1821. Among the first
entomological collections in the Museum was one including 762 species of indigenous butterflies
represented by 1,476 specimens, the majority being a gift from Ferdinand Schmidt. The first curator,
Henrik Freyer, also contributed a large proportion of 1,200 species of beetles collected from the Carniolian
region. Freyer and Schmidt continued to make additions to the Museum’s collection of insects, and the
Entomology Department soon gained recognition. The first collections no longer exist today.
One collection that has been preserved however is the private Ferdinand
Schmidt’s Insect Collection which came indirectly into the Museum’s possession just before the Second World War.
As an exceptional legacy, and item of important cultural-historical heritage, it is maintained today as a separate entity.
The collection consists mainly of butterflies and beetles, but also small numbers of other insect groups.
Today the collection is mainly of historic importance: many specimens do not possess basic data, limiting
their scientific value. The most interesting specimen is the »Narrow-necked«
Blind cave beetle (Leptodirus hochenwartii) described by Ferdinand Schmidt, the first cave-dwelling
insect worldwide to be thus described.
Until the Second World War the Museum did not have a full-time scientific worker dealing with entomology,
the collections being arranged and maintained with the help of volunteers.
The Museum obtained the majority of its collections after the Second World War from purchases, gifts, and
field work, a scientist being employed specifically for entomology, aided by research associates.
In 1980, staff changes were made in the curatorship and activities were extended to include aquatic insects.
During the last few years we have also broadened the field to cover parasitic groups of insects and bioacoustics.
The curatorship has been strengthened - at the moment we have four
scientists working on entomological research, all possessing PhDs. Various research associates
often collaborate with us.