Jungle Butterfly - Zoology Object of the Week (May 1, 2011)

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In 1966, medical entomologist Dean Fanara, PhD, conducted research on malaria and Chagas disease in northeast Colombia for the Pan American Health Organization. It is the land of the Bari people who had defeated several Spanish expeditions in the 16th century. Dr. Fanara enjoyed his stay and made friends with the Bari. It is hardly possible to not succumb to the beauty and diversity of butterflies in South American tropical forests. Being an entomologist, Dr. Fanara started to collect them. In the wilderness near Puerto Reyes, along an unnamed small stream, he gathered a collection of 98 beautiful specimens which he recently donated to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Our specimen of the week is a Blue-frosted Banner, Catonephele numilia (Cramer, 1776) of the family Nymphalidae from Dr. Fanara's donation.

The Museum houses and preserves over 60,000 specimens of moths and butterflies, or Lepidoptera.  Many of these insects are from Colorado and the surrounding mountain and plains region, but a considerable number of them are tropical. Butterfly and moth enthusiasts and researchers from the region, the High Country Lepidopterists, meet at three large scientific institutions: The Gillette Museum at Colorado State University, the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science take turns hosting this regional meeting every year. Next year in July, DMNS will be host to a major international conference on butterflies and moths, the combined Annual Meeting of the Lepidopterists' Society and its European counterpart, the Societas Europaea Lepidopterologica.

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