History of the Section

The Section was established, together with other research units of the Museum, by the end of 1931 and became functioning in 1932. Standard forms of storage and registration of collections adopted in the Museum are also used in the Section.

In the 1930s, staff members of the Section were: its head, G.G. Abrikosov (bryozoans) and B.N. Tsvetkov (terrestrial mollusks); besides, Ya.A. Birshtein (crustaceans) and V.I. Sychevskaya (arachnids) served as volunteer curators. They participated in preparing the textbooks “The Manual of Zoology”, “Life of Fresh Waters” etc.

After the War, the head of the Section became E.V. Borutsky (some crustaceans), with N.L. Sokolskaya (fresh water olygochaetes) and Z.G. Palenichko in the staff. Besides, G.B. Zevina (some crustaceans) and A.A. Shileyko (mollusks) were serving for some time as volunteer curators. Borutsky published a volume of "Fauna of the USSR" on harpacticoid crustaceans, while Zevina and Shileyko did so on their respective groups. Unfortunately, many duties of Borutsky prevented him to supervise the Section properly.

N.I. Kudryashova, a recognized expert in the trombiculid mites became member of the Division in 1971, due to which collection of these arthropods soon became the best in Russia. V.N. Goryachev worked in the Museum in 1974-1988, he studied and curated terrestrial gastropods.

Not all collection materials were studied and treated adequately in the post-War period. Thus, collections on arachnoids and millipedes, on many marine invertebrates were stored without registration and labeling, just new entries accepted and placed in the proper cabinets. It was so because not only of absence of respective experts but also of very limited space for the collections.

This critical situation was changed in 1981 when M.V. Heptner, an expert in copepod crustaceans, came to the Museum to take the position of the Chief and Curator in Charge of the Division. Simultaneously, many new staff members were invited: D.L. Ivanov, A.V. Sysoev, I.V. Muratov (mollusks), K.G. Mikhailov (arachnoids), O.V. Voltzit (ixodid ticks), A.A. Shileyko, Jr (millipedes), V.A. Spiridonov (decapod crustaceans), B.M. Mezhov (marine isopod crustaceans), A.V. Sikorsky (polychaetes). A new system of collection storages on metallic shelves instead of wooden cabinets was arranged. Proper registration and labeling became routine work with the collections, and many volunteer curators were invited to care about their groups.

During the 1980s, all the staff members were busy with reconstruction of the Museum exhibition in the Lower Hall. They participated in both designing and assembling the new displays and wrote extensive guides to the new exhibition.

Several fundamental monographs were published by members of the Division in the 1990s: on mollusk types (Ivanov, Sysoev), on spiders of the former USSR (Mikhailov), on evolution of some ixodids (Voltzit).

Some new periodicals in special branches of invertebrate zoology have been started in those years - on mollusks, arachnoids, and crustaceans. Such an activity not only provides a possibility for the Museum curators and volunteers to published their papers but also to draw new collections, especially type materials, to the Museum.

In most recent times, because of overall decline of the researches in systematic zoology in Russia, numerous invertebrate collections use to come to the Museum from their former owners; unfortunately, many of them are not in due conditions.

The following persons headed the Section in various periods:

G.G. Abrikosov (1932-1941)

E.V. Borutsky (1941-1945, 1950-1976)

I.I. Malevich (1946-1950)

N.I. Kudryashova (1976-1981)

M.V. Heptner (1981-1996)

V.A. Spiridonov (1996-2000)

D.L. Ivanov (since 2000)