The collections of Erich Zugmayer and Gottfried Merzbacher

The collections of Erich Zugmayer and Gottfried Merzbacher

Section Ichthyology - Collections

The GOTTFRIED MERZBACHER (1843-1926) collection

MERZBACHER traveled from 1906-1907 in different parts of the Central Asian Tian-Schan Range, which marks the border between China, Kazakhstan and Kirghyzia. The material, mainly cyprinids, origins from the River Íle, which drains the Tian-Schan into the endorheic basin of lake Balqash Köli [ Lake Balkhash]. Obviously MERZBACHER exclusively collected in the Chinese part of the Tian-Schan. Collecting sites of fish specimens are: „Ili bei Kuldscha [River Íle at Yining]“, der See „Bagrasch-Kul bei Karaschahr [Lake Bosten Hu at Yanqi]“, der „Fluss Manas in de Nähe der gleichnamigen Stadt [River Manas He in the vicinity of the alike named town]“and „Kara-Kul, südliches Kiukenik-Tal bei Kutscha [River Kara-Kul, southern Kiukenik valley at Kuqa]“ (ZUGMAYER, 1913). Additional material that ZUGMAYER (1913) only mentions in his preface, was collected from the Upper Syr-Darja in Kirghyzia and from the River Tschu. The collection MERZBACHER comprised originally 46 fishes from 10 species, one of them, Aspiopsis merzbacheri was described by ZUGMAYER (1912). The collection MERZBACHER was donated to ZSM (ZUGMAYER, 1913), but was apparently completely destroyed in World War II. Only one of the original 16 syntypes of Aspiopsis merzbacheri survived because it was exchanged to the British Museum of Natural History (BMNH 1914.3.2.1 (1) ex ZSM [old collection]) before the outbreak of the war.

Further specimens from this expedition

Schizothorax argentatus Kessler, 1874. Valid: Schizothorax argentatus Kessler. Anzahl: 7. Fundort: Ili. Länge: größtes Ex. 630 mm.

Schizothorax pseudoaksaiensis Herzenstein, 1889. Valid: Racoma pseudoaksaiensis (Herzenstein 1889). Anzahl: 1. Fundort: Ili bei Kuldscha. Länge: 575 mm.

Schizothorax tarimi Kessler, 1879. Synonym of Racoma biddulphi (Günther 1876). Anzahl: 1. Fundort: Bagrasch-Kul bei Karaschahr. Länge: 490 mm.

Aspiorhynchus przewalskii Kessler, 1879 Synonym of Aspiorhynchus laticeps (Day 1877). . Anzahl: 1. Fundort: Bagrasch-Kul bei Karaschahr. Länge: 570 mm.

Diptychus dybowskii Kessler, 1874. Valid: Gymnodiptychus dybowskii (Kessler 1874). Anzahl: 6. Fundort: Ili bei Kuldscha. Länge: 170 – 210 mm.

Diptychus przewalskii Kessler, 1879 Synonym of Gymnodiptychus dybowskii (Kessler 1874). Anzahl: 2. Fundort: Kara-Kul, südliches Kiukenik-Tal bei Kutscha. Länge: male 110 mm, female 112 mm.

Aspiopsis merzbacheri Zugmayer, 1913. Valid: Leuciscus merzbacheri (Zugmayer 1912). Anzahl: 16. Fundort: Fluss Manas in de Nähe der gleichnamigen Stadt, nordwestlich von Urumtschi am Nordfuße des Thian-Schan größtes Ex . Länge: 222 mm; Syntypes: ZSM [Old Collection] (15), BMNH 1914.3.2.1 (1) ex ZSM [Old Collection].

Nemacheilus yarkandensis Day, 1877. Valid: Triplophysa yarkandensis (Day 1877). Anzahl: 4. Fundort: Bagrasch-Kul bei Karaschahr. Länge: junge Exemplare.

Nemacheilus stoliczkai Steindachner, 1866. Valid: Triplophysa stoliczkai (Steindachner 1866). Anzahl: 2. Fundort: Thermen im obersten Teil des Kasch-Tales, zentraler Thian-Schan, 3000 m ü. M. Länge: kleine Exemplare, Wassertemp. 30 °C.

Diplophysa strauchii Kessler, 1874. Valid: Triplophysa strauchii (Kessler 1874). Anzahl: 6. Fundort: Ili bei Kuldscha. Länge: größtes Ex. 160 mm.

The ERICH ZUGMAYER Collection 1879 – ?)

ZUGMAYER explored the fish fauna of East and Central Asia in two Expeditions. The first led him in 1906 to West and Central Tibet, to Ladakh (East Kashmir) and to the Panggong Lake. The collection he brought back from this journey included 23 species with more than 400 specimens; he described four of them, Schizothorax montanus, Schizothorax ladacensis, Schizothorax tibetanus and Aspiorhynchus sartus, as new (ZUGMAYER, 1910). The complete collection and the syntypes were deposited in ZSM (ZUGMAYER 1910: 5). Detailed information on this journey and single camps are available in ZUGMAYER (1909).

In his second expedition in 1911 he explored Balutschistan, today a province of Pakistan. He followed an invitation to build up a representative collection of marine fishes for the national museum of Sir Henry McMahon in Quetta. From February to May 1911 he traveled the costal area near the Iranian border, while he explored central Balutschistan from June to mid September. In October, the last part of his journey, he was collecting in the northeastern part of the country in the (east) Kashmir region. His expedition was founded with 5000 Reichsmark (to this time an enormous amount of money) by the Königlich Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften.

At the beginning of his journey he mainly stayed in the harbours of Pasni, Gwadar, Sonmiani and Ormara, where he purchased numerous specimens from local fishermen for his collection. However, since he was more interested in freshwater fishes, he collected additional material from the rivers Purali [Porali] at Las Bela, the Dasht at Suntsar and Turbat, the Vidar at Sonmiani, and in the surroundings of the regional capital of Quetta, in Pishin, in Mastung and Nushki southeast of Quetta [Pishin Lora basin], and in the vicinity of Panjgur in the Rakhshan-Valley (Central Makran Range).

The collection comprised more than 300 specimens out of 40 species and 18 families. From this collection Torpedo zugmayeri, Platycephalus platysoma, Petroscirtes cristatus, Labeo gedrosicus, Labeo macmahoni, Scaphiodon watsoni var. belense, Scaphiodon daukesi, Nemacheilus baluchiorum and Nemacheilus brahui were described as new species or varieties. ZUGMAYER deposited his collection in Munich (ZUGMAYER 1913: 5); all species described from this expedition were solely based on the ZUGMAYER material. The complete material from ZUGMAYERS Balutschistan Expedition was apparently destroyed during the second World War in Munich, except single type specimens which have been exchanged already before World War II, namely: Labeo macmahoni, NMW 81256 (1); Scaphiodon daukesi, NMW 19784 (1), ZSI F8028/1 (1), F8032/1 (1); Nemacheilus baluchiorum, NMW 19851 (1).


Zugmayer, E. 1909. Bericht über eine Reise in Westtibet. Geographische Mitteilungen (7): 145-151, 2 maps.

— . 1910. Beiträge zur Ichthyologie von Zentral-Asien. Zoologische Jahrbücher 29(3/4): 275-298, Tab. 12, Figs. 1-4.

— . 1912 a. On a new genus of cyprinoid fishes from high Asia. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (London) (Ser. 8) 9(54): 682.

— . 1912 b. Eight new fishes from Baluchistan. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (London) (Ser. 8) 10(60): 595-599.

— . 1913. Die Fische von Balutschistan. Abhandlungen der königlich Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (mathematisch-physikalische Klasse) 26(6): 1-35.