Research Collections of the Zoological Institute RAS — Fleas (Siphonaptera)

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Collection of fleas (order Siphonaptera) is deposited at the Laboratory of Parasitic Arthropods, Zoological Institute RAS. The collection includes more than 51000 specimens of flea imagoes and larvae belonging to 545 flea species of the fauna of Russia and other countries. Fleas are deposited as 16000 slides in Canada balsam and also in 3700 sample microtubes in alcohol. The collection contains mainly the material from Russia and adjacent countries, and also from other countries and continents.

The collection includes representatives of 155 genera (out of 242) from 16 (out of 18) flea families. The family Ceratophyllidae is represented by 100 species belonging to 34 genera; the family Hystrichopsyllidae , by 143 species of 36 genera; the family Leptopsyllidae, by 99 species of 21 genera, and the family Pulicidae, by 35 species of 17 genera. Besides, the collection contains the material on fleas of the families Ischnopsyllidae (35 species of 8 genera), Vermipsyllidae (10 species, 3 genera), and Coptopsyllidae (8, 1), represented in the fauna of Russia. Among representatives of the world fauna, the flea collection includes specimens from the families Ancistropsyllidae (1 species), Chimaeropsyllidae (2 species of 2 genera), Lycopsyllidae (1 species), Macropsyllidae (1 species), Malacopsyllidae (2 species of 2 genera), Pygiopsyllidae (26 species of 16 genera), Rhopalopsyllidae (9 species of 7 genera), and Stephanocircidae (3 species of 3 genera). Type specimens are represented by 97 slides of 57 species and subspecies.

The collection also deposits unique Balsam slides of species collected, determined, and described by Julius Wagner, a pioneer of flea studies in the end of 19th — the beginning of 20th century, who had later emigrated from Soviet Russia and worked in the Russian University in Yugoslavia. His scattered collections were united as a single collection in 1927 by E.N. Pavlovsky, a future director of the Zoological Institute (1942–1962), academician, and Lieutenant General of Medical Service.

Many scientists complicated the flea collection. Several reviews of the flea faunae of the former USSR were prepared on the basis of these collections. For example, the collection was supplemented by the material collected by a theriologist A.I. Argiropulo, who had published the first review on fleas of Transcaucasia (1935). In 1948–1984, the collection was supervised by S.O. Vysotskaya, a specialist in burrow Biocenoses, who had also published the first «Short Key to Fleas» (1956) and also a handbook «Methods of collecting and examination of fleas and their larvae» (1970). In 1953, a part of the collection was provided to the Stavropol Research Anti-Plague Institute of the Caucasus and Transcaucasia in order to prepare a volume of the fauna of the USSR devoted to fleas. Specialists of the mentioned institute had published 4 regional keys devoted to fleas of the Russian Far East and Siberia, Middle Asia and Kazakhstan, the Caucasus, and the European USSR, that are still the most common reference books for practical employees. The most voluminous material was obtained from the «Microbe» Institute (Saratov) on fleas imagoes (1958) and the unique collection of flea larvae (1981). In 1960–1980, leading specialists on flea taxonomy from Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, and other countries worked with flea collection of the Zoological Institute.

Since 1984 and until present, the collection is supervised by Professor S.G. Medvedev. The collection is filled by the stuff of the Laboratory of Parasitic Arthropods and other laboratories of ZIN RAS. The collection is catalogued (collection cards and register books) and needs modernization by applying of digital forms of registration and presentation.


Collection Curator

Dr. Sergei Medvedev, Head of the Laboratory of Parasitic Arthropods

Tel.: +7 (812) 328-07-11, ext. 243
Laboratory of Parasitic Arthropods, Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences
199034, Russia, Saint Petersburg, Universitetskaya nab., 1