There are 57 species of butterflies recorded in the Cayman Islands (52 from Grand Cayman, 31 from Little Cayman and 34 for Cayman Brac).
Butterflies are important ecologically, as major pollinators of numerous species of native plants and trees. Their bright colours and delicate nature also add an extra dimension to gardens and landscaping.
Different species of butterflies are attracted to specific species of plants and trees, both as adults and caterpillars. For example, species like the gatekeeper and the speckled wood butterfly like to nibble on fresh, healthy grass, so keeping your lawn well maintained offers the chance for them to breed in your garden. You could try and find something like a colorado lawn care service in order to encourage these particular breeds to spend time in your garden. Planting and landscaping with native species and other key butterflies plants will help attract butterflies to your garden.
With good food availability and the right climatic conditions, spectacular swarms of butterflies are sometimes to be seen in the Islands. The Great Southern White Ascia mon is the local species most commonly associated with swarms.
Unique to Cayman
The Cayman Islands hosts five endemic subspecies of butterflies:
- Cayman Brown Leaf Butterfly Memphis verticordia danielana (GC and LC)
- Cayman Pygmy Blue Brephidium exilis thompsoni (GC only)
- Cayman Lucas’s Blue Hemiargus ammon erembis (GC only)
- Cayman Julia, Flambeau Dryas iulia zoe (all three islands)
- Cayman Swallowtail Heraclides andraemon taylori (GC only)
- While not currently protected by any legislation, these five endemic subspecies would be protected under Part II of the draft National Conservation Law.
The Cayman Pygmy Blue is one of the smallest butterflies in the world. Its salt marsh habitat is rapidly being lost to development, making this endemic subspecies of special conservation concern. To these ends, the Cayman Pygmy Blue is subject to a Species Action Plan, as part of the National Biodiversity Action Plan for the Cayman Islands.
Butterflies of the Cayman Islands is the definitive guide for anyone interested in learning more about Cayman butterflies. Produced in hardback, (169 pages), Butterflies of the Cayman Islands carries full colour photographs throughout, depicting all of Cayman’s butterflies, and many images of their host plants and caterpillars.
Butterflies of the Cayman Islands also carries a wealth of information about the habits of each species, along with descriptions of the plants and trees which each species depends on, both as a caterpillar and as an adult. If you want to attract butterflies into your garden, this book will show you which species to including in your landscaping.
Butterflies of the Cayman Islands was written by R. R. Askew and P. A. van B. Stafford, and is published by Apollo Books (ISBN 978-87-88757-85-9). Available from the National Trust for the Cayman Islands.