My Check-List of Israeliinsects
Prof. F.S. Bodenheimer's list of 1937
This is an ongoing unnofficial Check-list of the insects of Israel and the geographical region termed Palestine during the British mandate until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. This is because the list is based initially upon the check-list of F.S. Bodenheimer published in "Prodromus Faunae Palestinae", in the Memoires de l'institute d'Egypte, 33, 1-286. 1937. I have attempted to follow the changes in classification and nomenclature that have taken place since 1937, and in this respect I have followed as closely as possible the taxonomy as presented in "Fauna Europaea" of the European Commission which has been my constant reference.
Acknowledgment to contributors
Before and since the establishment of the state of Israel, many dedicated entomologists working in the fields of agriculture and health, and in the academic institutions have contributed greatly to our knowledge of the Israeli insect fauna. I have included in this revised list, only those insects whose names have been recorded in the scientific literature as existing or having been introduced into Israel and the authors' names are listed after each insect and in the scroll-down page below each list. In addition contributers who have been especially helpful to me are gratefully recognised in my personal acknowledgments at the bottom of this page.
Where is "EREZ ISRAEL"?
The problem of defining the zoogeographical boundaries of this part of the world is too great for little old me, so I have had to make my judgments at every turn. Bodenheimer refers presumably to Mandatory Palestine but he gives no locality names in his publications. Did he include insects captured on the east bank of the Jordan, or how much of Sinai did he include? Some information may be obtained from beneath the labels of the Mandatory insect collection at Bet Dagan or in the Museums of Europe as well as in the literature of earlier collectors.
Sinai: However, many of the insects that I have seen that were collected pre-1948 have vague place-names and are almost unreadable anyway. There is no clear-cut zoogeographical boundary between the Negev and Sinai, though favorite collecting sites in Sinai such as Kadesh Barneia and Santa Katarina, are usually clearly noted and I have attempted to leave these insects out of the list.
The Jordan Valley: But how about Jericho which was a favorite collecting site, presumably because it was favored by an agricultural research farm? Would it not be fair to assume that insects found in Jericho would also be present along the Jordan valley northwards or southwards into areas now within the borders of Israel?
Ramat Hagolan: And how about Ramat Hagolan? Many Israeli entomologists have studied the particular fauna of this region. I have included all these insects in the list since it does not appear probable that the final boundaries will be decided upon until well after my death.
So far I have only been able to look at the insect collection in Bet Dagan though I know that the collection of the University of Tel Aviv is vastly greater and contains much "Type" material and donations. I am indebted to the staff of the PLANT PROTECTION AND INSPECTION SERVICES of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for permitting me to see their collection of identified insects. I have looked at the collection, but not examined it. In other words my objective was to verify as far as possible that those insects already identified had a label reading either Palestine or Israel. However, I want to state clearly that if I have listed an insect as appering in the collection, but no publication exists to corroborate this as an Israeli insect, then it should be considered with caution. This is because intercepted insects have been included as well as many non Israeliinsects obtained for comparative purposes. I have looked at most of the labels under these insects and have provided information written on the label wherever possible.
The collection at Bet Dagan contains (I quote):
- The complete entomological collection of the Department of Agriculture of the Mandatory Government, (i.e. until 1948), mostly determined at the Imperial Institute of Entomology (not always reliable).
- Parts of the entomological collection of Professor Bodenheimer
- Material from light traps (Mandate).
- A general insect collection.
- Special collections of insects of agricultural importance including dontated collections from Israeli researchers such as Dr. Halperin, Dr. Kehat.
The collection at Bet Dagan has been recently re-boxed, reviewed, re-organised, and relocated and much of the pre-1948 material has been virtually saved at the last moment after many years of neglect. This was made possible by a fund donated by the family of the late Dr. Vermesh, and the TLC of the taxonomist and Curator, the late Dr Kabir (Carol) Argaman, and the continuing upkeep by present Curator Dr. Alexandra.
Extinction and Misidentification
Lastly, worthy of mention is the profound influence on insect populations brought about by: agricultural development and urban encroachment causing removal of natural habitats, climate change (??), the influences of irrigation and re-forestation, the introduction of many new plant species often accompanied by associated insect pests predators and parasites , the devastation caused by insecticides in the 60s and 70s, inceased occurrence of brush fires and the rampages of pyromaniacs, industrial polution, agricultural pollution - you name it! I imagine that some or more probably, many many, of the insect species listed by Bodenheimer have become extinct while others were misidentified. At the bottom of my lists I include those species listed by Bodenheimer, but rejected by later authors or now to be considered unreliable in view of their known distribution.
Requests for Assistance
I'm sure that there are many published records that I am not aware of and so - to the entomological community in Israel and elsewhere I make my appologies and request you to help me fill in the gaps which you can do here and now. are welcomed! Particularly if you are prepared to send me your original photos of Israeliinsects that are not protected by copyright. I will willingly include them with an appropriate acknowledgment.