Friday, 13 – a good day for Bavarian bees. The first set of bees taken from the Hymenoptera collection of the ZSM are ready to be processed for DNA barcoding. One midleg will be removed from each of the 23 specimens representing 20 species of bees.
Bavaria is a diversity hotspot for bees in Germany – 502 bee species have been recorded, representing c. 90% of the German bee fauna.
ZSM Hymenoptera collection hall.
The ZSM holds one of the largest collections of Hymenoptera in the world. The Hymenoptera is a diverse groups of insects and includes the bees, wasps, and ants, but also the parasitic wasps that play an important role in nature because keep pest insect populations at a low level.
In the ZSM about two million Hymenoptera specimens are stored in a little more than 10,000 insect drawers. Standard size drawers are 41 x 52 cm wooden boxes with glass lid and a tight key and slot joint. Drawers are arranged in wooden cabinets that allow easy access to all parts of the collection.
About 10,000 drawers are arranged in wooden cabinets.
About 10,000 drawers, arranged in cabinets.
The collection hall is underground and has no windows, keeping the risk of pest intrusions at a minimum. The floor space of the hall is about 200 m², an area smaller than a tennis court (261 m²). Climatic conditions (20°C, 45% rel. humity) are controlled and monitored using dataloggers, providing optimal conditions for the long-term storage of insect specimens. The insects were collected over a time period of more than two centuries, but even the oldest specimens, collected in the 18th century, are often in perfect condition.
The images shows a male of the South American pergid sawfly Skelosyzygonia spinipes Malaise. The species is known only from the male. Note the large, spiniform, raptorial hind legs that are unique among sawflies. Males of Aulacomerus buquetii Spinola have also large, raptorial-like hindlegs, but they are not as large and they lack the spines. The hind legs of the female of A. buquetii are normal like in most other sawflies.
So far only a few specimens of Skelosyzygonia spinipes are present in entomological collections, all of them from locations in Brazil. The specimen depicted in the image is housed in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Contact: Hymenoptera.ZSM (at) gmail.com
In 1939 J. Hubrich purchased a collection of ants from South America that is now deposited in the ZSM. The ants in the drawer depicted in the images were collected about a century ago in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina. Only a few specimens of this particular collection have been identified to species level.