Coleoptera Aquatica Collection

World water beetle collection & research center


The Vienna Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum Wien) houses the world's most comprehensive collection of water beetles. All currently described water beetle families are represented. By now (1999), the collection houses several millions of water beetle specimens preserved in alcohol, and about 300.000 mounted ones. On the average ca. 20.000 specimens are added annually, most of which are from China, Southeast Asia, South America and the Australian Region. The most important recent water beetle accession is doubtlessly the private collection of Hans Fery, which contains more than 40.000 Dytiscidae and which is still actively curated, enlarged and scientifically worked up by Hans Fery (Berlin).

Historical collections

Among the historical collections partly or entirely deposited in the Vienna Natural History Museum, those of V. Apfelbeck (1859 - 1934), B. von Bodemeyer ((1883 - 1929), E. Eppelsheim (1837 - 1896), G.R. von Frauenfeld (1807 - 1873), L. Ganglbauer (1856 - 1912), F. Hauser (1853 - 1932), T. Kotschy (1813 - 1866), G. Paganetti-Hummler (1871 - 1949), L. Redtenbacher (1814 - 1876) and J. Waltl (- - ca. 1882) are noteworthy. Due to the active exchange maintained mainly by L. Ganglbauer at the beginning of the 19th century, the collection contains numerous "historical" syntypes described by the following coleopterists: Grouvelle, Kuwert, Régimbart, Reitter, Rey, Sahlberg, Sainte-Claire-Deville, Sharp, etc.


  • Dr. M.A. Jäch
  • Dr. H. Schönmann (retired)
  • Dr. H. Schillhammer

The following research associates are more or less regularly working here: M. Balke (Berlin, corresponding member), D.S. Boukal (Ceské Budejovice), J.A. Díaz (Santiago de Compostela), Dr. H. Fery (Berlin), Dr. F. Hebauer (Deggendorf), U. Heckes (München), C. Hernando (Barcelona), M. Hess (München), Prof. L. Ji (Shenyang), Dr. J. Kodada (Bratislava), A. Komarek (Wien), P. Mazzoldi (Brescia), I. Ribera (Barcelona), H. Shaverdo (Minsk), M. Toledo (Parma), Prof. Dr. G. Wewalka (Vienna).

Geographical bias

Although the water beetle collection of the Vienna Natural History Museum is deemed to be a world wide collection, there is a geographical focus on China and SE Asia. The most important project at present is the China Water Beetle Survey. Additional cooperations are in existence or planned with institutions in the following countries: Burma, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Paraguay, The Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Thailand.


The scientific results (mostly papers on water beetle taxonomy, especially descriptions of new species) are published mainly in the following periodicals:

  • Koleopterologische Rundschau (Coleopterological Review)
  • Water Beetles of China
  • Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien
  • Monographs on Coleoptera
  • Entomological Problems

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