Database of Estonian zoological collections

The database of zoological collections comprises data of specimens preserved in the insect collection of the Estonian University of Life Sciences (IZBE), in the zoological collection of the Estonian Museum of Natural History (TAMZ) and in the zoological collection of the Natural History Museum of the University of Tartu (TUZ), people from all these three institutions have participated in its development.

Presently, the database holds records of 554 667 specimens, including:

  • 175 904 specimens in IZBE
  • 133 862 specimens in TAMZ
  • 244 829 specimens in TUZ
  • 72 specimens in private collections (RR, TT, AA).

Locality points are clickable and linked to specimen. Intensive circles mark groups of country centroids where exact location is not available.

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Search and display specimens, in which:

Collections

IZBE is the mostly entomological collection by the Department of Zoology in the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of the Estonian University of Life Sciences. Address: Kreutzwaldi 5D, 51014 Tartu. Tel.: 7 311 887; e-mail: olavi.kurina@emu.ee. Curator: Olavi Kurina, Ph.D.

The collection was founded when the Institute of Zoology and Botany was established in 1948, when the zoological collections of the Estonian Naturalists’ Society were given to the sector of zoology. For that reason, IZBE also contains several larger and smaller collections from the Baltic Germans (collections of W. Petersen, G. Flori, F. Sintenis e.g.). Today the collection comprises an estimated 850 000 specimens, of which 95% are insects. The collection is divided in ten sections: the Collectio Insecta Generale and nine personal collections. The materials have been gathered from all over the world. In IZBE 327 holotypes and/or lectotypes are kept and more than 3000 paratypes. Some of the materials have been determined by world class specialists, this gives them a special value as well. The materials have been exchanged and relationships of reciprocal loans have been established with over 30 institutions and private collectors from America, Asia and Europe. Gathering expeditions have been organized in Australia, Peru, Nicaragua, Uganda, South-Africa, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Japan and several places in Europe. The materials from several insect monitoring projects (monitoring of Estonian moths, Estonian project of the Malaise traps) are preserved in the collections as well.

TAMZ collection is founded on the zoological collection of the Provincial Museum of Estonia established in 1864. A separate museum now known as the Estonian Museum of Natural History was established in 1941 on the basis of the natural science specimens of the Provincial Museum.

The zoological collections of the Estonian Museum of Natural History contain about 130 000 specimens. The oldest of these are mounted birds dating from the mid-19th century. The ornithological collections from this period were compiled by Valerian Carl Michael Russow, Paul Wasmuth and other founders of Baltic ornithology. The ornithological and oological collection encompasses most of the breeding bird species of Estonia. The mammal collection contains representatives of most of the mammal species found in Estonia. The collection of mollusc shells, corals and echinoderms comprises species from various tropical seas and oceans worldwide. The collection of fluid-preserved specimens contains invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and fish.

The entomological collections comprise nearly 109 000 specimens, most of which have been collected from Estonia. The museum houses the entomological collections of Günther-Friedrich Reindorff (5 500 specimens), Mati Metsaviir (over 10 000 specimens), Valentin Soo (20 000 specimens), and Tiit Marnot (12 000 specimens).

TUZ the Zoological museum of the University of Tartu Natural History Museum. Address: Vanemuise tn 46, 51014 Tartu. Phone: 7 375 833; e-mail: villu.soon@ut.ee. Treasurer: Villu Soon. Curator of the collections of vertebrates: Andrei Miljutin.

The University of Tartu Natural History Museum preserves the oldest zoological specimens in Estonia, these were collected in 1803–1809 by G. A. Germann, who was the chairman of the Cabinet of Natural History at that time. The Zoological museum was founded in 1822. Presently ca 283 000 specimens are preserved there, prepared as required. In addition, ca 250 000 specimens of unprepared entomological materials are preserved on cotton wool. Mostly in entomological collections, ca 500 type specimens are preserved. The materials have been collected mostly in the northern part of Palearctic, some of it comes from elsewhere in the world as well. The materials are: mammalian skins (2123 items), bird skins (8275 items), lower vertebrates – fish, amphibians, reptiles (both dry and wet materials, 1708 items), oological collections (15 914 items), osteological collections (ca 60 000), malacological collections (ca 82 700 items), entomological collections (ca 110 000 items). In three exhibition halls ca 5000 specimens are on display. The collections are used by researchers both from Estonia and from abroad.

RR – the entomological collection of Rünno Rein. TT – the private collection of Tõnu Talvi (in Saaremaa, Viidu). AA – the private collection of Allan Selin (in Harjumaa, Maardu, Kuldvitsa tee 26).

Contact information

Collection curator

IZBE

  • Curator Olavi Kurina (Olavi.Kurina@emu.ee)

TUZ

  • Curator Villu Soon (villu.soon@ut.ee)

TAMZ

  • Zoology curator Lennart Lennuk (lennart.lennuk@loodusmuuseum.ee)
  • Entomology curator Aare Lindt (aare.lindt@loodusmuuseum.ee)
  • Entomology curator Uno Roosileht (uno.roosileht@loodusmuuseum.ee)

Address: Toompuiestee 26, 10149, Tallinn

All zoological collections in Estonia are welcome to join this database.

Database-related technical issues:

  • Kessy Abarenkov (kessy.abarenkov@ut.ee)