The zoological collections of the Museum of Natural History contain approximately 130,000 specimens.
The collections boast a wide selection of both vertebrate and invertebrate species from Estonia as well as other parts of the world.
The oldest stuffed birds date back to mid-19th century. The ornithological collections of the time were compiled by founders of ornithology in the Baltic States Valerian Carl Michael Russow, Adolph Rauch, Paul Wasmuth, and others. The ornithological collection comprises most of the species that nest in Estonia. The mammal collection includes stuffed specimens of most mammal species that live in Estonia. Among such specimens are a few albinotic forms. Noteworthy foreign species include stuffed specimens of the polar bear, the hook-lipped rhinoceros, and the Amur tiger as animals included in the world’s endangered species’ list. The species-rich collection of mollusk shells, corals, and echinoderms is comprised of species extracted from the world’s different tropical seas and oceans. The wet specimen collection includes vertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
The Museum of Natural History’s entomological collections contain nearly 109,000 specimens. The largest part thereof is comprised of material collected in Estonia.
The principal collection of Estonian butterflies currently contains approximately 25,000 specimens, including 900 species of large butterflies. Mati Metsaviir’s butterfly collection includes more than 10,000 specimens of mostly tropical butterflies. Among the specimens are grandiose and beautiful birdwing species of the Troides genus from Southeast Asia, Papua, and Australia. Günther-Friedrich Reindorff’s butterfly collection contains nearly 1,000 specimens of Estonian butterflies.
The principal collection of Estonian beetles includes approximately 12,000 specimens, with 2,200 species represented. The collection includes a number of first beetle findings in the Estonian beetle fauna. The principal collection of beetles also contains species subject to Pan-European protective status –Dytiscus latissimus, the hermit beetle, Oxyporus mannerheimii, Cucujus cinnaberinus. Valentin Soo’s beetle collection contains a total of nearly 20,000 samples of almost 2,700 beetle species collected in Estonia. Said collection includes numerous sole findings of certain beetle species in Estonia as well as the entire Baltic region - Paracymus aeneus, Leiodes pallens, L. rubiginosa, Catops nigriclavis, and others.
The collection of tropical insects has been quickly supplemented during the past years with material from numerous tropical regions in Asia and South America. The collection currently holds nearly 40,000 samples, including a number of highly valued holotypes and paratypes.
The Museum of Natural History Department of Zoology
Phone: (+372) 660 3404
E-mail: lennart.lennuk[ät]loodusmuuseum.ee (birds, mammals, species-rich etc), uno.roosileht[ät]loodusmuuseum.ee (beetles) and aare.lindt[ät]loodusmuuseum.ee (butterflies)