Ferdinand J. Schmidt's insect collection embraces mainly butterflies and beetles.
Among the most interesting specimens are the so-called
beetles. The first beetle of this kind was found by assistant lamplighter Luka Čeč
in 1831 in Postojna Cave. He passed it on to Count Franz Hohenwart, while he in
turn sent it to Ferdinand Schmidt for »scientific processing«. In 1832, Schmidt
eventually described it as a new genus and a new species -
hochenwartii, with the Carniolan name of »narrow-necked cave beetle«.
This discovery was of great significance for the history of our entomology,
considering that this was the first fully described cave beetle in the world. Until
then, it had not been know that caves could be inhabited by insects at all. As the
first specimen of the narrow-necked cave beetle was damaged, Schmidt promised
to pay 25 florins for a new intact specimen. The inviting reward, however, was
never paid out. The second specimen was found sixteen years later in the same
place by Schmidt himself. While searching for the rare insect, he actually
discovered a whole series of unknown cave animals not only in Postojna Cave but
in some neighbouring caves as well. The unexpected finds stirred much
imagination all over the world and attracted many foreign researchers to visit
Slovenia. A new field in biology began, eventually called speleobiology.