Aurelian Popescu-Gorj, Ph.D.

1914–1997

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Dr. doc. Aurelian Popescu-Gorj was one of the most remarkable figures of the Romanian lepidopterology. Born on the 23rd of September 1914, in Târgu Jiu, in an intellectual family, he had the chance to meet, when he was only 14 years old, the great Aristide Caradja.

This one saw the passion for nature of the young Aurelian, and he supported him, encouraging him and providing to him the first advices for the collecting, collection making and study of Lepidoptera.

Ever since his student years, Aurelian Popescu-Gorj voluntarily worked at “Grigore Antipa” National Museum of Natural History, under the guidance of the first curator of the Lepidoptera collections, Franz Salay. He was later employed at the Museum as an entomologist, a specialist in Lepidoptera study.

In this quality he dealt with the study of important collections of Lepidoptera within the museum heritage (the collection of Prince Aristide Caradja, that of Prof. Adriano Ostrogovich, etc), describing – by himself or in cooperation with other specialists – 28 de new taxons for the science and signalling for the first time in the territory of Romania approximately 200 species and subspecies of Lepidoptera.

As head of the Section of Entomology from the museum he directed a great number of research programs referring to the entomofauna from Dobrogea (the Danube Delta sand banks, Southern Dobrogea), in the area of Porţile de Fier reservoir etc.

He collected an extremely diverse Lepidoptera material, that together with some other materials obtained in exchange from other collectors in this country or abroad constituted the basis of a valuable collection, that is a part, at present, from the heritage of «Grigore Antipa» National Museum of Natural History.