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.