Based on four years of butterfly monitoring in four contrasting natural habitats on St. Eustatius, we document large and consistent differences in the butterfly species assemblages in the different habitats and compare the butterfly assemblages of the three windward Dutch islands to those of other islands of the Lesser Antilles. Seven new species records were established for St. Eustatius, thereby updating the butterfly list to a total of 32 species. Pieridae were the most numerically abundant group of butterflies (48%), followed by Lycaenidae (26%), Hesperiidae (12%), and smaller numbers of both Heliconiinae (6%) and Charaxinae (5%). Heliconiinae and Charaxinae both showed a significant dependence on the moister, wind-sheltered habitats of the volcanic slopes and crater of the Quill, but this dependence was particularly strong for Heliconiinae. The butterfly faunas of the windward Dutch islands numbered a total of 44 species. The presence of larval host plants needed for local reproduction was confirmed for all but two species. Cluster analysis separated the butterfly faunas of these and the surrounding islands into two groups. The more speciose butterfly assemblages of Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Martin clustered together with the those of the surrounding higher islands of Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, and St. Kitts, while the poorer faunas of the low-lying islands of Anguilla, St. Bartholomew, and Barbuda formed a separate cluster and had a lower species richness particularly in the Heliconiinae and Charaxinae. Based on consistent effects of elevation on butterfly faunas, at both geographic scales (between areas on St. Eustatius and between islands), our results suggest that island maximum elevation is the overriding factor explaining the distribution of butterfly faunal richness in the northern Lesser Antillean islands studied.
This book is intended as a popular picture guide to butterflies and moths of Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire. It is not designed as a field guide for biologists but is primarily intended to stimulate the interest of young conservationists, amateur naturalists, and the general public. To this end, the text is presented both in English and the native Papiamentu. Papiamentu spelling and usage differs between the three islands. The Papiamentu in this book is based on: Dikshonario Papiamentu – Hulandes, 2nd revised edition, by S. M. Joubert, 1999, and Spèlchèk version 1.0, by Fundashon pa Planifikashon di Idioma, 2001.
The information and photos presented in this picture book are based on studies con- ducted by the authors during the period 1996-2000, two papers of which have already been published in the Caribbean Journal of Science. While this book presents some gen- eral information on butterfly biology, technical information and details have been kept to a minimum and should be sought elsewhere. Useful sources of supplemental informa- tion have been listed under ”Further Reading”. While the focus of this book is on the butterflies, a few striking or colorful moths are also featured. We present here general knowledge, including the current distribution of the species thus far recorded and wel- come additional information.
At present there are no words to distinguish butterflies from moths in the Papiamentu language. Both animals are simply called “barbulètè”. We here follow Simons (1868) and use the terms “barbulètè djanochi” and the term “mòt” to refer specifically to moths. Both are expressions derived from the Dutch language. In the text we use the word “barbulètè” to refer only to butterflies and not moths. For the striking group of moths known as “hawkmoths” in English, we here use the term “barbulètè gabilan”. In Dutch this group is known as the “arrow-tailed butterflies” based on the “horn” or “spine” found on the hind part of the abdomen of the caterpillars of these species.
Local names for butterflies and moths also do not exist in Papiamentu. However, previous studies have shown that assigning relevant common names is essential for butterflies to be recognized and appreciated by the general public. As an aid to the development of an awareness of butterflies in the ABC islands, relevant Papiamentu names have been coined for all species pictured, and are preceded in the text by one or more English common name(s). The Papiamentu names were based on either color or appearance of the butterfly, its (local) host plant or existing English common names. Many English com- mon names were adopted from one of the following sources: Carter (1992), Covell (1984), Gerberg and Arnett (1989), Haxaire (1995), Miller (1992) and Stiling (1986). Species for which no published English common names exist or could be found were given a common name based on the widespread practice of using the species name as a basis for the common name. These species have been indicated by an astrisk. Letters placed between parentheses behing each species’ Papiamentu common name indicate for which of the three islands each species can presently be confirmed by the authors.
Butterflies are a colorful and fascinating group of insects that have attracted a great deal of interest from naturalists in the past. In Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire they can be easily observed by both young and old, whether in the city or in the countryside. Yet, most people remain totally unaware of the many colorful species that can be seen and very little is known about the local occurrence and habits of these insects.
This booklet is a popular picture guide to the butterflies of the Leeward Dutch Antilles, brimming with colorful pictures and written with a succinct, easy-to-follow text. In light of the ever growing interest in the wildlife of our islands, this book fulfills a clear need for palatable information on a much neglected part of our fauna. Reading through the booklet, from page to page, one cannot but remain impressed by the large variety of colors and patterns displayed by our butterflies.
The information presented, demonstrates the overriding dependence of the butterflies on native plants as opposed to introduced plants. A large number of native species are largely restricted to natural woodlands and many are rare. The situation for many but- terflies on Bonaire and Aruba is much more critical than on Curaçao. To preserve our butterflies for the generations to come, natural woodlands must be effectively protected and, wherever possible, native plants should be given preference over introduced plants.
There can be little doubt that this issue will contribute to a greater appreciation of the animal life of our islands. Hopefully it will also contribute to a more responsible attitude towards nature. The Carmabi Foundation has been on the forefront of natural sciences and nature conservation in the Dutch Leeward Islands for five decades now. Over the years the institute has brought forth hundreds of scientific contributions and scholarly books on the natural resources of these islands. I hereby congratulate the authors and the foundation with yet another beautiful contribution to the natural history of our islands.
We document 29 butterfly species for the island of Aruba and 32 for Bonaire. We also document five new records for Curaçao, increasing the total to 58 species. The three islands have inherently similar faunas but those of Aruba and Bonaire are significantly impoverished compared to Curaçao. The decreased diversity is ascribed to human intervention and degradation of the environment.