Journal article Open Access
Dr Amnon Freidberg was born in Haifa, Israel (then British Mandatory Palestine), on September 18, 1945, to Asher Oscar Freidberg (1916–1966) (repatriated from Latvia), a businessman and store owner, and Geula Freidberg (neé Katz) (1916–2016), a housewife (born in Israel to parents originating from the Austro-Hungarian Empire). Amnon studied at the Hebrew Reali High School, Haifa (1951–1963), and after graduation served in the Israeli Defence Forces (1963–1965). Amnon started his formal studies in biology in 1965 towards a BSc degree in Tel Aviv University, where he spent his entire career. During his BSc studies (1968) he was hired by the late Prof. Jehoshua Kugler (1916–2007), the founder and the first curator of the entomological collection (now part of the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv University), to collect tachinid flies (Tachinidae) for Kugler’s taxonomic and faunistic research. Within a short time Amnon proved himself to be an extraordinarily successful collector and supplied Kugler with many new and rare species. Amnon’s relationship with Kugler remained very close and warm through the years. During this period Amnon became the leader of a group of entomologists—Kugler’s students (e.g., Danny Simon, Menahem Kaplan, Fini Nachbar (later Kaplan), Avital Gasith)—who invigorated the taxonomic study of insects in Israel through their intensive collecting, observations, and publications. Amnon completed his MSc thesis on The fruit‑flies (Tephritidae) of Israel (1968–1971) and his PhD dissertation on the Reproductive behavior and reproductive isolation in fruit‑flies (Tephritidae) (1972–1978) under the supervision of Kugler. In 1979–1980 Amnon was accepted as a post-doctoral fellow to work on the insect collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA. In 1980, Amnon assumed the position of a researcher at Tel Aviv University and the curator of the insect collection, following Kugler’s retirement. For a short period (1987–1988) he was in charge of all the zoological collections, but for most of his life, until his retirement in 2013, he was the curator of the entomological collection. Under his leadership, the insect collection grew considerably thanks to intensive field collecting by Amnon himself, his students and technicians (20,000–50,000 specimens per year), the exchange of material with colleagues abroad, and the absorption of collections from other institutions.