Research Collections of the Zoological Institute RAS — Diptera

Русский / English

The Collection of the Diptera of the Zoological Institute of RAS is one of the largest collections of the world in number of depositary units, geography, and taxonomic diversity including almost all groups of dipterans of the world fauna. The Collection, undoubtedly, is the richest depositary of representatives of the East Palaearctic fauna, especially the Caucasus, Siberia, Far East and Central Asia.

The Collection of the Diptera was founded in the first half of 19th. In the earlier period it was expanded mainly by buying private materials of European, e.g., the collections of J. Waltl identified by J.W. Meigen and F. Kowarz including syntypes of species described by H. Loew, or Russian (E.A. Eversmann, V.A. Yaroschevsky, V.N. Schnitnikov, etc.) collectors. The collection greatly enriched after materials obtained from Russian travellers in China, Mongolia (N.M. Prezhevalsky, V.I. Roborovsky, N.G. Potanin, M.M. Berezovsky, brothers G.E. and M.E. Grum-Grzhimaylo, P.K. Kozlov) and Iran (N.A. Zarudny). R.R. Osten Sacken, F.D. Pleske and some others donated their private collections. A special period in formation of the Diptera collection deals with activity of A.A. Stackelberg and some of his contemporaries. A.A. Stackelberg collected intensively in Primorskiy Territory and Leningradskaya Province of Russia, as well as in Tajikistan, and treated materials on many families.

Many materials from different regions of the Palaearctic were taken by E.V. Dombrovskaya, A.A. Tshekanovsky, I.I. Rubtsov and K.Ya. Grunin. F.D. Pleske and A.A. Stackelberg increased greatly the value of the Diptera collection involving Russian dipterists from other institutions, as well as foreign colleagues, for identification of the materials. This practice continues up to present time. Over the next years, collections were enriched with the material accumulated predominantly by the researchers of Division of Diptera, especially by the students of A.S. Stackelberg (V.F. Zaitzev, K.B. Gorodkov, V.N. Tanasijchuk, V.A. Richter, E.P. Nartshuk), and by many other entomologists as a result of numerous expeditions to various regions of Russia and neighbouring countries (e.g., Mongolia, Israel, etc.). Another important source for valuable material was and still remains the exchange with other scientific institutions and with individual specialists that is especially true for the non-Palaearctic species.

The fundamental scientific value of the Diptera collection is determined primarily by the presence of numerous type specimens of species described by many famous Russian and foreign dipterists of the past and present (F.D. Pleske, A.A. Stackelberg, I.I. Portschinsky, S.Ya. Paramonov, E.N. Savchenko, L.S. Zimin, N.G. Olsufjev, B.B. Rohdendorf, O.P. Negrobov, L.V. Zimina, N.A. Violovich, A.L. Ozerov, P.A. Ler, N.P. and M.G. Krivosheina, Th. Becker, B. Lichtwardt, L. Cherny, P. Lakschewitz. W. Hennig, O. Duda, P. Stein and others).

Generally, all Collection materials are arranged among six main parts:

  1. the stock systematic collection with identified specimens placed in geographic order;
  2. the collection of the primary types (holotypes, lectotypes);
  3. maintained and labelled but unidentified specimens;
  4. materials on cotton-layers;
  5. alcohol preserved materials;
  6. the collection of preparations.

More than 6000 entomological boxes with dry pinned specimens are housed in 79 cabinets placed in the Laboratory Building of the Institute. The total number of specimens is more than 4 millions, including about 3000 type specimens of the species and subspecies. The most part of the Collection is classified in the families and identified to the species. Unidentified materials are arranged in geographic regions. The larvae (and partly imagoes) are stored in alcohol in 1800 jars but these materials are mostly unsorted. The non-mounted dry material on cotton-layers is housed in 220 plastic containers. In addition, there are 340 pallets with glass slides containing microscopic preparations of morphological details of dipterans (mainly female and male terminalia) and 2310 tubes with preparations in glycerine; a part of preparations in micro-vials is pinned together with a specimen.


Collection Curator

Dr. Olga Ovchinnikova, Principal Researcher of the Laboratory of Insect Taxonomy

Tel.: +7 (812) 328-12-12, ext. 247
Diptera Department, Laboratory of Insect Taxonomy, Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences
199034, Russia, Saint Petersburg, Universitetskaya nab., 1


Photos of specimens and related materials made by V.V. Neimorovets, A.V. Kovalev, A.A. Przhiboro, A.N. Ovchinnikov, I.V. Shamshev.