Croatian entomology and carabidology – historical overview

The development of entomological science in Croatia, through the past two centuries, can be divided into several periods.
In the initial period, entomology in Croatia was exclusively studied by foreign researchers, and collected materials were stored in collections in their native countries. First entomological surveys in the second half of the 18th century were carried out by Giovanni Antonio Scopoli, Alberto Fortis, Matija Piller, Ljudevit Mittelpacher, Petar Nutrizio Grisogono, Eugenius Johann Christofor Esper, Nicolo Host, Dživo Aletin Natali, etc.

G. A. Scopoli, (Tirol, 1723 – Pavia, 1788) published in 1763 „Entomologia Carniolica exhibbens Insecta Carnioliae indigena et distributa in ordines, genera, species varietates methodo Linnaeana“, with data collected from Croatia and Slovenia.

While systematic and entomological studies were already in full swing throughout Europe in the 19th century, they were at their beginnings in Croatia.

D. Hoppe and F. Hornschuch, published, in 1818, entomological records after their travel through Croatia titled „Tagesbuch einer Reise nach der Küsten des adriatishen Meeres“, where they described several new carabid species from Croatia.

In the first half of the 19th century carabid beetles were more systematically studied by Duftschmit, Germar and Dejean.

Ernst Friedrich Germar (1789 – 1853) was actually the first scientist and entomologist who studied insects in Croatia. In 1817, he published his paper „Reise nach Dalmatien und in das Gebiet von Ragusa“, with records of 318 species of beetles.

The second most important entomologist for Croatian entomofaunistic data, at that period, was Napoleons’ general, Pierre Francois Dejean (Amiens, 1780 – Paris, 1845). During his stay in Croatia, from 1816 to 1818, he recorded 17 thousand insect specimens, among them 1 400 beetles. In his work “Species générale de Coléoptères”, published in Paris in 1833, he described six new carabid species: Carabus croaticus 1826, Trechus croaticus 1831, Bembidion dalmatinum 1831, Amara dalmatina 1828, Molops dalmatinus 1828 and Laemostenus dalmatinus 1828.

Croatian physician, natural scientist and academic, Josip Kalasancije Schlosser
(Jedrichov, 1808 – Zagreb, 1882) published his capital work on Croatian coleopterological fauna entitled „Fauna kornjašah Trojedne Kraljevine 1877.-1879”. Here, he listed 11 000 species of beetles and added Croatian vernacular names for all species.

Antun Korlević (Sv. Ivan od Šterne, Istra, 1851 – Zagreb, 1915) was the first university professor of entomology, and a great friend with Ludwig Ganglbauer (1856-1912), whose passion for beetles passed to Korlević.

Lots of newly described species in first half of the 19th century, including carabid beetles such as Duvalius langhofferi (Csiki 1913), were named after Prof. dr. sc. August Langhoffer (Kizacs near Novi Sad, 1861 – Zagreb, 1940), head of the Zoological Museum in Zagreb, and entomology professor. His collection is placed in Croatian Natural History Museum in Zagreb.

In the second half of the 19 th century, Đuro Koča (Osijek, 1853 – Vinkovci, 1924) collected and preserved more than 1900 beetles from the eastern parts of Croatia. He described Carabus ullrichi ssp papukensis Koca 1899 (Hirtz, 1924).

Dr. Eduard Karaman (Split, 1849 – 1923) was a physician and entomologist. After retirement, he collected beetles comprising a big collection of more than 30 000 individuals, now placed in the Natural History Museum in Split. He worked with Ganglbauer, Reitter, Winkler, G. Müller, and lots of beetles were named after him, such as carabid species Harpalus karamani Apfelbeck 1904.

In the first half of the 20th century, between two world wars, Petar Novak (Hvar, 1879 – Split, 1968) dedicated his life to entomology. He published 36 papers on beetles compiled within the books „Kornjaši Dalmacije“ and “Kornjaši Dalmatinskih otoka”. A major part of his collection is placed at the Natural History Museum in Zagreb.

Prof. Dr. sc. Josip Müller (Zadar, 1880 – Trst, 1964) studied beetles of Adriatic and Balkan zoogeographical regions. He published 206 papers, most of them on Croatian fauna. Amateur entomologist, Guido Depoli (Rijeka, 1879 – Belluno, Italija 1948) studied beetles, especially carabids, in the Istria and Kvarner region including the northern Adriatic islands. He published 65 entomological papers and left his collection with 50 thousand specimens to Natural History Museum in Rijeka.

In the second half of the 20th century, few eminent entomologists were active. Prof. Dr. sc. Guido Nonveiller (Rijeka, 1913 – Beograd, 2002), during his field survey in Mt. Biokovo in 1929, found a new species of carabid beetle described by Müller – Trechus nonveilleri Müller. Franjo Koščec founded Museum in Varaždin Town, where his valuable collection of insects from the northern part of Croatia is placed.

Prof. Pula Durbešić surveyed carabids in forest communities near Plitvice lakes and in mountains of the Gorski Kotar area. She supervised dozens of master and doctoral theses dealing with the ecology of carabid beetles and most of her students are active carabidologists nowadays.

Until nowadays, several valuable entomological collections were placed in Croatian museums and Universities. Collection in Varaždin Town Museum counts more than 10 thousand specimens. The Natural History Museum in Zagreb nowadays takes care of 226 thousand specimens from Schlosser, Weingartner, Redenšek, Onsea, Novak, Mikšić, Kozulić, Korlević, Koča, Igalffy and Geiger collections, with three thousand specimens of cave insects with numerous endemic species and a few recently described carabid species.
Valuable collections are also preserved in Rijeka Museum, with Beszedes (6 000 specimens) and Depoli (16 000 specimens) collections, in Split (Karaman collection) and Zadar Museum. University of Forestry comprises 80 thousand specimens of Hensch collection with more than 15 thousand species, 11 holotypes and 8 lectotypes.

Adapted from the published work of Durbešić P (2011) in Entomologia Croatica 15: 1-4.
Lucija Šerić Jelaska & Paula Durbešić


1969 Wijster, Netherlands (1st ECM)
1973 Rees-Grietherbush, Germany (2nd ECM)
1978 Rees-Grietherbush, Germany (3rd ECM)
1981 Münster, Germany (4th ECM)
1982 Stara Brda Pilska, Poland (5th ECM)
1984 Hamburg, Germany (symposium within 17th International Entomological Congress)
1986 Balatonalmadi, Hungary (6th ECM)
1989 London, United Kingdom (7th ECM)
1992 Louvain la Neuve, Belgium (8th ECM)
1995 Kauniainen, Finland (3rd International Carabidology Congress)
1998 Camigliatello, Italy (9th ECM)
2001 Tuczno, Poland (10th ECM)
2003 Aarhus, Denmark (11th ECM)
2005 Murcia, Spain (12th ECM)
2007 Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria (13th ECM)
2009 Westerbork, Netherlands (14th ECM)
2011 Daugavpils, Latvia (15th ECM)
2013 Prague, Czech Republic (16th ECM)
2015 Primošten, Croatia (17th ECM)

The history of the meetings can be found here