Banderas Bay Butterflies

By Moralea Milne

This week features: Fiery Skippers

Mexico has the proud distinction of being one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world as a consequence of its geography and climate, and harbours 10% of the world’s 17,500 butterflies.
Mismaloya and the Puerto Vallarta-Nayarit area are considered extremely rich in butterfly species. A 1999 report found 315 butterfly species in Mismaloya, 382 species throughout Banderas Bay and a further 195 species potentially occurring throughout the area for a grand total of 505 species. That’s a lot of butterflies for this little slice of paradise, especially when you consider that all of Canada is home to only 275 butterfly species versus 1750 species in Mexico (and 750 for the US). Butterflies are members of the Lepidoptera family, along with moths (really, just night flying butterflies…), and the people who study butterflies and moths are lepidopterists. That’s quite a mouthful, so professionals and amateurs alike are generally known as leppers….although not the kind who suffer from that terrifying and disfiguring disease.
To acknowledge and celebrate this wealth of butterfly fauna, and the eye catching beauty of these flying jewels, the Vallarta Tribune will be featuring a new butterfly or moth every week…or as long as I can supply new photos to showcase! I will do my best to correctly identify every photo, but should any errors occur, I would be thrilled to hear from you with your corrections; we are all in this learning curve together!
I’m only an occasional visitor to Mexico, I haven’t yet reached that enviable milepost of retirement, but every visit, at any time of the year, brings the joy of finding and photographing these winged delights. Apparently September brings out the greatest number of species, but the dry months are when you might find the rarities.

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