A wonderful video of what is perhaps the most extensive neotropical butterfly collection in the world.
The interview is in Portuguese and you get to see and hear Dr.Olaf Mielke, THE neoptropical hesperiid expert and just a great guy in general. If you ever get a chance to see this collection - take it. It is so deep in material that we just don't have in northern Collections (in the US at least).
Based on my pre-compactor photos, I estimated that there were around 3,700 drawers in the collection. The compactor you see in the video adds probably 40-50% more capacity. The photo below shows Dr. Mielke with his beloved Pyrrhopygini skippers - Every drawer you see in the photo holds just Pyrrhopygini - about 200 drawers total.
The most amazing thing about the collection is that it really was primarily by Dr Mielke and his students over his long career at the university. It is like a natural history factory, with bugs continually coming in from the field, being spread fresh, and curated directly into the collection on a daily basis.
Last Edit: Oct 27, 2017 20:26:52 GMT by jshuey: photo not showing up
Looks like a phenomenal collection. Good to see that Brazil at least has a well directed, organized, and fully curated repository for their Lepidoptera holdings. Comparable it appears to North American and European museums. Which says an awful lot as I've heard that most Central and South American countries have collections (at best) bordering on pathetic or going to pot.... Brazil does have the greatest diversity of Lepidoptera anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere so it only makes sense they SHOULD have the greatest collection present. Really impressive !
Based on what I've seen, the Universities in Brasil are designed to complement each other. The University of Parana is all about taxonomy, while others are focused on agriculture, ecology and so on. So this university is a focal point for taxonomic collections, and while I didn't see them, has similar collections for all orders of insects as well as other plants and animals.
But there are other pretty nice collections of leps as well around the country, and I've heard great things about the the "historic collection" in Rio de Janerio, and I've seen good work out of Brasilia as well.
Keep in mind that many regions of South American are very European - and southern Brasil is very European. It surprised me a bit, having travels in Central America quite a bit. Brasil is nothing like those countries.
Well then perhaps, the countries of Paraguay and Uruguay also have quite good collection holdings as well since many Germanic people's have called those countries their second home since WW2. Could'nt guess if European influence has touched upon Argentina or Chile. Both of those countries saw extensive social upheavals and dictatorships during the 70's and 80's. Since you have noted in the past of your extensive field work in Belize perhaps, you could tell us something of what you know. Are the collections there in a good state of affairs ? How about Costa Rica or Panama ? Dr. Jansen and Dr. DeVries have both done extensive field work and breeding studies in Costa Rica so I know that country has to have a very strong entomological base. As for Panama, I would like to think that all the years of American presence and influence would leave it in a good position as well regarding strong taxonomic holdings.