Monday, February 8, 2010

Brazil (2001)

Date of issue: February 23rd, 2001
Name of issue: Centenario do Instituto Butantan
                          (Centennial of the Butantan Institute)
Number of arachnid related stamps in issue: 2/8

Information from the postal services booklet (please note that the information about the animals may or may not be accurate, I am simply re-typing the information).

With this issue, the Post Office celebrates the Centennial of the Butantan Institute, which has brought so many benefits to the humankind, since it is known as a Research centre devoted to the production and development of immunobiologicals, and to the broadcasting of cultural, technical and scientific information. In 1965, the Brazilian Posts issued a stamp on the Birth Centennial of Vital Brasil, inventor of the anti-ophidian serum, and in 1991, another stamp portraiting the Butantan Institute was issued, by the Brazailians Museums Series.

Its origins date back to the late 19th century and early 20th century, when an outbreak of bubonic plague that has devastated the city of Santos and threatened to spread out led the government to find a suitable place to establish the anti-plague serum production lab - the Butantan Farm.

This laboratory, initially linked to the Bacteriological Institute, was recognized as an autonomous institution on 23 February 1901, under the name of Serum Therapy Institute. Its first director was Vital Brazil Mineiro da Campanha, a doctor who worked in the public health area. And it was thanks to the idealism of Vital Brazil, who was concerned not only about the production of sera and vaccines, but also about the development  of research, for which the Institute has become internationally known. It currently houses the Laboratories of Arthropod, Bacteriology, Biochemistry, cellular Biology, Genetics, Herpetology, Immunochemistry, Immungenetics and Viral Immunopathology, the activities of which, represented by several scientific findings and publications, has exalted Brazilian science. The scientific journal entitled Memoirs of the Butantan Institue, published since 1918, contains most of these articles. There is also the Vital Brazil Hospital, the only one of its kind specialized in treating the victims of venomous animals, and which also carries out research in its area of expertise.

The vocation expressed since the outset of its history in the production of the sera and vaccines is still alive, and the Institute is responsible for the production of the main vaccines used in Brazil, such as the diphteria, tetanus toxoids and pertussis, the Double BCG and the Rabies vaccines, among others. The goal of developing new products through modern processes has been achieved, as seen in the recently launched Hepatitis B vaccine obtained through the recombining DNA technology and developed for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere.

The dissemination is made by the cultural sector and is represented by the production of informative material such as brochures, manuals, videotapes and the delivery of several courses to audiences at different levels, which range from fundamental to university level. Museums such as the Historical and the Street museums illustrate the history of the Institution through equipment and photographs of the past, as the Biological museum is the showcase of our diversity of venomous animals - snakes, spiders and scorpions - an other activities developed by the Institute. The museums are complemented by a specialized library with over 80 thousand Brazilian and foreign books and newspapers.

In the miniature sheet, the artist presents eight species of venomous animals. Four of them are the most representative species of snakes (in Brazil): cascavel (rattlesnake), from Crotalus genus, which, when annoyed, announces its presence by producing the peculiar buzzing noise of rattlebox or bell; jararaca (Bothrops jararaca), from Bothrops genus, which lives mainly in rural areas and in the outskirts of big cities and presnets and agressive behaviour when menaced, leaping without producing noise; coral (coral snake), from Micrurus genus, which is banded in red, white, and black in any type of combination; and surucucu (bushmaster), from Lachesis genus, which is the largest poisonous snake of the Americas, reaching a length of 3.5 meters.

From Arthropodium genus, the following species were focused: Phoneutria specie, known as aranha armadeira (wandering spider), which often causes accidents in and near houses; and Tityus bahiensis, known as escorpiao marrom (brown scorpion), which lives in termites nests, steep slopes, under stones, fallen trunks, materials, constructions, etc. Both species easily adapt to household environment.

From the genus of lagartas (caterpillar), were highlighted Dirphya sp., which has dorsal stinging bristles like thorns; and Megapyge sp., which has long and soft dorsal hairs widely coloured, faking its trus sharp and stinging bristles.

In teh background, every stamp presnets the image of Butanta Institute Building. The technique used for the design was aquarelle.

Michel #: 3134
Scott #: 2728c
Yvert #: 2669
order: Araneae
family: Ctenidae
Phoneutria sp.

Michel #: 3135
Scott #: 2728d
Yvert #: 2670
order: Scorpiones
family: Buthidae
Tityus bahiensis (Perty, 1833)

Souvenir sheet:

Other stamps of this series:

Information booklet:

front page

interior page 1 (Portuguese)

interior page 2 (English)

back page

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