Ronald de Ruiter
Phone: +31 (0)71-75 19 107
Room number: Darwinweg C.02.08
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Very important is the Bleeker collection; a collection of ten thousands of fishes from the Indian archipelago assembled between 1842 and 1860 during the period when Pieter Bleeker (1819-1878) as a medical doctor employed by the Dutch army, was (mainly) stationed in Batavia (Jakarta). Bleeker not only received fishes from colleagues and compatriots stationed at various island of the Indian archipelago, but also from further locations e.g. India, Singapore and Japan. Moreover, after his return to the Netherlands Bleeker described new species from China, Madagascar and Surinam. In more than 500 papers Pieter Bleeker described nearly 2000 new species of fishes. Unfortunately only after Bleeker passed away in 1878 the RMNH received a grant from the Dutch government to purchase the major part of Bleeker’s fish collection at the auction of the Bleeker collection iin 1879.
Another very important collection is the collection of Japanese fishes assembled from 1823-1834 by Philipp von Siebold and Heinrich Burger. On the basis of this collection, which also comprises 256 watercolours of fishes painted from 1830-1832 by the Japanese artist Kawahara Keiga, the Fish Volume of the Fauna Japonica (1845) was written by the director of the RMNH C.J. Temminck and curator of vertebrates H. Schlegel. Part of the sharks and rays from this collection were described by Müller and Henle (1838-1841). Every year examination of the collection by (mostly Japanese) specialists, reveals more, previously unnoticed, species.
Of more recent date is the collection of Lake Victoria cichlids collected from 1977-2009. This collection of Haplochromine cichlids contains hundreds of undescribed species, some of which recently became extinct as a result of the introduction of the Nile Perch in Lake Victoria.
In 2011 Wageningen University donated a large collection of Barbels from Lake Tana, amongst which several new species.