Macedonian Museum of Natural History
The Macedonian Museum of Natural History was founded in October 1926, following an initiative of the well-known biologist, Dr. Stanko Karaman. The Museum collects, studies and exhibits the natural treasure of Macedonia. The permanent exhibitions of the Museum comprise an area of 1700 sqm and about 4000 original exhibits are displayed in glass showcases and dioramas.
MINERALS AND ROCKS
The exhibition consists of a variety of minerals and rocks of Macedonia. Some of them are used as metallic, non-metallic and energetic resources, and others are known as precious (mountain crystal), opal, chalcedon (achat), etc.
The first part of the exhibition comprises numerous fossil parts, small glass dioramas, and drawings of the flora and fauna through geological eras, periods and epochs. The second part consists of well-preserved fossils of mastodonts (ancestors of today's elephants), hipparions (ancestors of the horses), rhinoceros, antelopes, monkeys, and other extinct animals that lived in the territory of Macedonia 8 to 10 million years ago.
There is a very interesting and specific plant life in Macedonia, characterized by numerous representatives of the older tertiary flora, known as endemic and relic species. About 600 specimens of plants are displayed in this exhibition, which is only a small part of the entire nowadays flora of Macedonia.
The invertebrates are represented by 550 exhibits beginning with the most primitive multicellular organisms (sponges) to the most complex ones (mulluscs). This fauna has Central-European, Mediterranean and Asia Minor elements and is characterized by many relic and endemic species of sponges, platyhelminthes, crustaceans and snails which are particularly present in the Ohrid Lake.
The abundance and diversity of insects is displayed in 19 glass cases and 19 dioramas. The exhibition provides information on the most characteristical representatives of some orders of insects: orthopterans, homopterans, beetles, dipterans, neuropterans, butterflies and moths, etc. Small numbers of species of exotic insects, that originate from the tropical and subtropical regions, are also displayed in this exhibition.
There are various species of fish in Macedonia, originating from Aegean, Adriatic and Black Sea watersheds. About 40 species of fish are displayed of which the majority belongs to the ciprinid family, and only one representative of cyclostomata. The well-known endemic and relic species are Ohrid trout, Dojran bleak, Strumica bleak, Macedonian dace, etc.
AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES
Amphibians and reptiles of Macedonia are characterized by an exceptional variety of species in comparison with the rest of Europe. There are at present 17 species of amphibians or 38% and 35 species of reptiles or 41% of the whole European fauna. Displayed are 86 exhibits which represent all species of our amphibians and reptiles. The majority is presented in their wildlife habitats in dioramas.
Macedonia is known as a crossroad of migratory birds. Almost one third of 310 species from these areas are migratory birds, while 210 species are nesting birds. In the exhibition 250 species are displayed with 450 exhibits. These are representatives of the exceptionally interesting water birds, predator birds, owls, partridges, etc.
A total of 86 species of mammals have been registered in Macedonia, or more than half of the whole number of European land mammals. Approximately 130 specimens represent 66 species of mammal groups, such as insectivores, bats, rodents, lagomorphs, carnivores, etc. The largest mammals, such as the bear, wolf and chamois attract special attention.
The Macedonian Museum of Natural History is organizing The Second International Congress on the "BIODIVERSITY, ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION OF THE BALKAN FAUNA" which will be held in autumn 1998 in Ohrid, Macedonia.
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