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Collection

The systematized collection of WITT Museum harbors now 3 - 3,5 millions specimens in about 20.000 boxes of 52x41cm dimensions. It also contains about 35.000 microscopic samples along with alcohol specimens.

Families in the Collection can be searched in either
taxonomic
or
alphabetical order
Each family with general information and list of types can be accessed separately.

Families are divided into Rhopalocera (butterflies) and Heterocera (moths). The core of the collection is formed by original research objects of WIIT Museum (see Autobiography Thomas J. WITT): by families grouped in SEITZ (1912-1933) under "Bombyces et Sphinges":

HETEROCERA
1) Nolidae
2) Arctiidae
2a) Aganaidae
3) Syntomidae
4) Dilobidae
5) Lymantriidae
6) Notodontidae
7) Thaumetopoeidae
8) Thyretidae
9) Cimeliidae (=Axiidae)
10) Callidulidae
11) Camptolomidae
12) Cyclidiidae
13) Drepanidae
14) Epicopeidae
15) Epiplemidae
15a) Pterothysanidae
16) Thyatiridae
17) Uraniidae
18) Bombycidae
19) Brahmaeidae
20) Endromidae
21) Eupterotidae
21a) Anthelidae
22) Lasiocampidae
23) Lemoniidae
24) Saturniidae
25) Sphingidae
26) Cossidae
26a) Andesianidae
27) Limacodidae
27a) Chrysopolomidae
28) Megalopygidae
29) Epipyropidae
30) Heterogynidae
31) Zygaenidae
32) Sesiidae
33) Thyridae
34) Psychidae
35) Hepialidae

These families are not grouped together any more, being assigned either to Macro- or to Microlepidoptera. Although the collection arrangement now follows mostly the basic work by FLETCHER & NYE (1975 - 1984), changes are also made according to new views on the systematics of the group.

RHOPALOCERA
1) Papilionidae
2) Pieridae
3) Nymphalidae
3a)Amathusiidae
4) Satyridae
5) Lycaenidae
6) Hesperiidae


Location of the Collection

Building

WITT Museum has resided in an old apartment and commercial building for about 40 years. Intentions to move in other, more spacious building or to build a special one, have been constantly rejected, since the present location suites well all the requirements. The dry city climate is ideal for conservation. A solid construction of the building allows storing heavy items regardless of the floor (Comprimus system). Corridors and floors, connected by lifts, are such designed, that small transporting cars and automatically elevated platforms can function there without problems. The size of the building makes it quite flexible to fulfill concrete requirements. For instance, thanks to the deep-cooling technique, Museum can now stop using poisonous preservatives – good news for the populated neighborhood. This, in turn, insures, that in case of fire, proper services will be instantly informed. Close position to subway and other public transportation is quite convenient for visitors and researchers.

Collection layout

Material of the collection fills about 20.000 regular boxes of 51x42 cm. They are arranged in two rows by 19 boxes; each row is secured by special locking beams. Shelfs of different dimensions comprise a part of a larger furniture system, which includes the library and which can be fit rationally to different rooms, including LUHE Comprimus system. About 100 items of archive furniture are on the way to be equipped.

Unstudied material for many families is more numerous, than studied one. The share of unprepared material has especially grown up in last years due to the extensive light trapping. This material is stored in paper sacks laid with cotton and thus can be accessed without damaging specimens. Collections, which have undergone multiple freezing, are stored in tight boxes in airproof metal cases.

Proinsecta-System

Proinsecta-System, which has been developed and produced by THOMAS WITT in middle 70th of the last century, is now available for purchase in special stores. By using its system boxes it became possible to manage rationally a large amount of material.

Box with insects contains movable and interchangeable items, so-called system boxes, made of transparent polystyrene and available in three sizes:
Their bottoms are made of white finely porous plastosote, frequently used for pinning insects.

Advantages are obvious. The material studied has to be put in the system box only once. Coming material is arranged in new boxes, which simply have to be positioned in the right place, or in already existing system box. «Pinning to the other place», used earlier, is thus completely abandoned. This prevents from spreading the bugs. It also keeps broken parts, such as antennas and bellies, in the position, where they can be easily associated with the specimen.

Notes to type catalogue

The existing type material is numbered in type catalogue. This system is provided below. The catalogue makes it easier for researches to find necessary specimens. Therefore, it does not always follows strict scientific rules with type citations and other notes.

HT - Holotype: number 1 shows that the holotype is available.
AT - Allotype: number one shows the availability of one specimen of the other sex, used for species diagnosis.
PT - Paratype: digits show the number of paratype specimens. Co-, syn- or paralectotypes are not differentiated. Topotypes are not counted.
LT - Lectotype: number 1 shows that lectotype, used in publication, is present in the collection. In some cases, the neotype is mentioned in the column.

Level of numbers of Type Catalogue dating 01.01.2018 (inline):
Holotypus(HT) - 3112, Allotypus(AT) - 691, Paratypus(PT) - 80998, Lectotypus(LT) - 100 (this latter number contains 8 Neotypes)
(remark: approx. 260 holotypes are not yet registered)

The online version of the types’ catalogue is not complete.
- Although types are given for taxa, diagnosis of which is still in process of publication, they do not show up in online version until the description comes out of print.
- The cataloguing of some families is not complete and follows that of the entire collection.
- Time-consuming studies are sometimes necessary, if the author, who made the research, did not make a proper labeling of the material. Even when the type material is available, lack of labels and ambiguous notes in publications make its location problematic.
- The picturing of holotypes with labels and publishing them on the Web is now a primary task. If picture is available, the number in types catalogue is marked with a symbol. By moving mouse cursor over the symbol, you can access it with one click. Publishing of genitals and paratypes pictures online is a long-term goal.



Type catalogue is dynamic and can be accessed in different ways:
  • by opening the link to type catalogue under Collection → Family, someone can access only the part of type catalogue, related to this family.
  • by opening the link to type catalogue on the upper navigation bar, someone can access general catalogue with all the families.
  • depending on either the entire catalogue is opened or its part for the family, the heading always show the list of types.
  • if the number marked with a butterfly symbol, the picture can be accessed by clicking over with the mouse.
  • if someone clicks on the category in the heading, its content becomes alphabetically ordered. For instance, if someone clicks on “Author”, the taxa listed below will be sorted alphabetically by authors.
  • if someone goes to the name of the author (f. e. “DANIEL”) in the column, all the taxa, described by this author, appear.
  • equally, if someone goes to generic, specific (f. e. “cossus”) or subspecific name, all the taxa, containing this name, appear.
On the loan of typematerial for scientific examination

Due to experiences in the past holotypes are no more given on loan. In order to meet the specialists’ wishes to study a type we started to place photographs of them online which can be made visible by a mouseclick on the symbol of the holotype () in the typelist. If a digital picture in better quality is requested to be published in a scientific paper or if a dissection of genitalia or another examination is necessary please contact Mr. Witt or another member of the staff. We strive hard to give support to any scientific research in connection with the typematerial preserved in our collection.