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This paper briefly reviews the collection of Chironomidae (Diptera) housed at the Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg (ZIN). Although it is the oldest and one of the largest Chironomidae collections in Russia, most of the collection has been unknown to specialists for decades. The collection consists of three main parts: dry specimens (about 20000 pinned adults), material in ethanol (over 25000 vials with larvae, pupae and adults) and permanent slides (over 12000 slides with larvae, pupae and adults). Based on a study of the collection itself, published sources and archival data, major periods for the formation of the collection are here described. Collectors and expeditions, whose contributions were most important, are listed, as well as the regions where the material was collected. The role of chironomid researchers, who made important contributions to the creation, enrichment or study of the collection, is also described. The contributions by Aleksei Chernovskii and Vera Pankratova are considered in more detail. According to a preliminary estimate, the collection contains type specimens of no less than 150 species described by 24 authors, and thousands of specimens determined by experts. The Chironomidae collection of ZIN is particularly important because it hopefully will enable us to correctly interpret many species names proposed in 1930-1980’s, mostly based on brief descriptions of larvae and currently often considered nomina dubia. In addition, the collection includes the unprocessed material from vast territory of the former Soviet Union, including many distant regions, which are still difficult to access.
Published online: 17 October 2012.
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