This room presents temporary exhibitions and the butterflies collection intermittently, for conservation reasons.
The butterflies collection
The Alpes-de-Haute-Provence area is Europe’s leading region for the diversity of species of butterflies: there are more than 2,500, including moths, with 208 diurnal species out of the total of 260 in mainland France. This entomological richness is the fruit of a diversity of biotopes between the landscapes of mountains and lowlands that favour the multiplication of species. In particular, the collection presents specimens of a very beautiful species of Proserpine with very wide red spots, called Honnorati. It was characteristic of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence area in the 19th and 20th centuries, but has not been observed since 1991. The name Honnorati is a reference to Dr. Simon Jude Honnorat, a doctor in Digne in the 19th century, who studied the flora and also the geology and the insects of the Digne region. The Musée Gassendi has a superb collection of lepidoptera, which can be seen throughout the summer; the insects are presented beside other curious butterflies that were created by contemporary artists Bertrand Gadenne and Olivier Grossetête.