The CURLA entomological museum: the main butterflies

10-07-2020
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The CURLA entomological museum is a Honduran institution administered by the University. It is renowned for its magnificent collection of butterflies and other insects.

The CURLA entomological museum is one of the largest in its field. It is located in Honduras and was founded by Don Robert Lehman,  a passionate professor and explorer from the city of Ohio, in the United States. This museum is the culmination of his desire to collect and classify butterflies from around the world.

It was previously known as the  Museum of the Butterfly and Other Insects. Its management however changed in 2015, hence its new name and headquarters.

The collection of the CURLA entomological museum

This museum has a very large collection. It consists of more than 19,300 specimens of day and night butterflies. In addition, his collection includes insects from Honduras and more than 140 countries around the world.

The museum’s collection also highlights around 8,000 specimens of lepidoptera , between butterflies and moths. In addition, the museum has over 6000 copies of another class of insects from Honduras. All have been collected over the years in the rainforest of the Central American country.

Of course, the museum also lists examples from other countries. Among these, we find  3400 types of lepidoptera and more than 1800 copies of other insects.

The butterfly Attacus atlas is listed in the entomological museum CURLA

Obviously, like all museums, the entomological museum displays some iconic examples. Among these, we can highlight the largest moth in Honduras, the Thysania agrippina,  in addition to the largest butterfly in the world, the Attacus atlas. 

Even though blue butterflies are found in many countries, Honduran blue butterflies are famous for their color. The museum identifies several types, including the most brilliant , the butterfly  Morpho cypris.

The museum has managed to have very rare copies worldwide . This museum thus has a copy of the most colorful moth, which comes from Madagascar: the Chrisridia ripheus. In addition, it identifies curious and funny examples such as the butterfly with a peanut-shaped head and the largest mouth in the world.

Robert Lehman, founder of the Museum of butterflies and other insects

Don Robert Lehman is a man who has dedicated many years of his life to collecting and classifying Lepidoptera and other insects.

He arrived in Honduras at the age of 19 and stayed there for two years. After that, he returned to the United States to complete his studies. During his first stay in Honduras, his love for insects only grew  and never died out.

After completing his studies in the United States, Lehman returned to Honduras in 1968 to settle there.

With a primary school teacher diploma, Lehman devoted his life to teaching. At the same time, in his spare time, he explored the nearby mountains. It was during his hikes and trips that he collected butterflies.

In 1987, Lehman donated his first large collection of butterflies to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.  Many researchers and specialists used his contribution, which listed 4222 specimens of Honduran lepidoptera.

Lehman started in 1994 his new large collection of butterflies and insects. Two years later, this collection becomes the Butterfly Museum.

The Entomological Museum and environmental conservation

Honduras has 11.2 million hectares of territory; at least 4 million hectares correspond to different types of forests and jungles.

In recent decades, Honduras has implemented reforestation and conservation programs . However, much of the flora and fauna has been affected by environmental changes.

The CURLA Entomological Museum therefore constitutes a refuge of knowledge and a means of protection for butterflies which could quickly disappear.

The entrance to the CURLA entomological museum

New administration of the Butterfly Museum

Lehman has managed the Butterfly Museum since its foundation. However, from 2015, the museum came under the administration of the National Autonomous University of Honduras.

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