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Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)

The Lepidoptera collection contains about 100,000 pinned specimens. It received special attention from H. Bytinski-Salz, founder of the entomological collections. It has been particularly developed by Y. Palmoni (Bet Gordon, Deganya A`) and V. Kravchenko (TAU). The older part of the collection includes butterflies collected by Father E. Schmitz ca.100 years ago.

 

The collection covers about 2,000 species of macro-Lepidoptera and at least 500 micro-Lepidoptera. Most of this material was collected and identified by specialists of certain groups: diurnal butterflies (Rhopalocera) (D. Benyamini), Pyralidae (Y. Palmoni), Noctuidae (V. Kravchenko), Bombicoidea (G. Müller). Most of the material was collected inIsrael, though material from other countries of the Middle East is  also available, includingJordan, Syria and Lebanon. Material from other continents includes Lepidoptera collected in Africa: Ethiopia (by V. Kravchenko), Madagascar (by L. Friedman and A. Freidberg) andMali (by G. Müller).

 

The Lepidoptera are divided into several subgroups. Among these, the butterflies - Rhopalocera (7 families), Noctuoidea (2 families), are very well represented, with types of new species deposited at TAU, reflecting the extent of their study. The Bombicoidea (about 28 families) and micro-Lepidoptera (more than 30 families) are under-collected and currently not well studied. All of the 23 species described in the last decade are endemic to Israel.

 

Most of the material is preserved as pinned specimens, and long series are available for some species. Many species are "rare", very local or endangered, such as species specific to seashore sand dunes, or the sands of the Arava valley.

 

The collection is frequently used in the study of pest species either injurious to crops or to human and animal health.

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