Butterflies and Moths
Click here for photos of Cayman Islands butterflies, moths and their plants Butterflies, Moths and their Plants
Cayman Brown Leaf butterfly – Memphis verticordia danielana – its life cycle and its larval food plant Endangered Wild Cinnamon – Croton nitens.
Click here for photos of the larval food plant of one of Cayman’s 5 endemic butterflies:
Fig Sphinx moth – Pachylia ficus
Fig Sphinx moth – Pachylia ficus, Sphinx/Hawk Moth family: SPHINGIDAE. The larval food plant in Cayman is the fast-growing Wild Fig – Ficus aurea, one of Cayman’s largest trees, Family: MORACEAE and probably other Ficus species. The adult moths feed on nectar from flowers around sunset. It is seen here visiting the trumpet-shaped flowers of the ubiquitous shrub Tecoma stans – Cayman common names Shamrock, Cow-stick or Hemlock (Cayman Brac). It is called Yellow Elder in the US, (Family: BIGNONIACAEAE). Photo: Ann Stafford, Jan. 28, 2005.
Click here for photos and information about all stages – egg, larva, pupa and adult Fig Sphinx moth – Pachylia ficus
Visit Ann Stafford’s Gallery for more photos:
Tetrio Sphinx Moth – Pseudosphinx tetrio
Tetrio Sphinx Moth – Pseudosphinx tetrio Linnaeus, 1771
Family: Sphingidae, Subfamily: Macroglossinae, Tribe: Dilophonotini
This moth has a wingspan: 5 – 5.5 inches (12.7 – 14 cm), the females larger than the males.
Tetrio Sphinx moth / Giant Grey Sphinx moth caterpillar on Plumeria obtusa – Jasmine, Feb. 4, 2002
Jasmine (Wild Frangipani) – Plumeria obtusa L. Family: APOCYNACEAE is one of the larval food plants. (Other shrubs and creepers are also called “Jasmine in Cayman.)
Leaves: ALTERNATE, crowded
Flowers: white with yellow eye
Tree exudes an abundant toxic, white latex when cut, which does not harm the caterpillars when they eat the leaves. The brightly coloured black, yellow and red caterpillars warn would-be predators, such as birds, of the toxins.
Hawksmoths or Sphinx moths
Little Cayman, for an island so small, supports a surprisingly rich hawkmoth fauna. Jordan (1940) records nineteen species found by the 1938 Oxford University Expedition to the Cayman Islands, five of which were taken on Little Cayman. In 1975 eleven species were captured on Little Cayman between 10th. and 30th. July, the majority being caught in a mercury vapour light trap operated at Pirate’s Point (P) and on the evening of 28th. July, in the central forest south of Sparrowhawk Hill (F).
Atoll Research Bulletin No. 241: 139-140, March 1980.
University of Florida IFAS Extension
Jasmine (Wild Frangipani) – Plumeria obtusa, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and the Swan Islands.
FLORA of the CAYMAN ISLANDS by George R. Proctor 2012 p.517, Plate 49.
Click here for more CaymANNature FLORA photos
North American Moth Photographers Group Mississippi Entomological Museum
The adult Tetrio Sphinx Moth has a wingspan of 5 – 5.5 inches (12.7 – 14 cm), the females larger than the males.
Two butterflies and a day-flying moth – black with iridescent blue and a blue day-flying moth with white spots and a red-tipped abdomen
Atala Hairstreak butterfly – Eumaeus atala, Family: LYCAENIDAE, nectaring on Poison Tree – Metopium toxiferum, ANACARDIACEAE. Photo: Stuart Mailer, Little Cayman, April 2, 2012
New Record for Little Cayman, Stuart Mailer and Christine Rose-Smyth, April 2, 2012.
The Atala Hairstreak flies on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, but has not been recorded on Grand Cayman, although its larval food plant Bulrush/Zamia – Zamia integrifolia grows on all three islands. Tha Atala hairstreak has a red-orange abdomen.
The Mangrove Skipper butterfly flies on Little Cayman, but not Grand Cayman or Cayman Brac, although Red Mangrove, its larval food plant, grows on all three islands.
The Polka Dot Wasp moth has a blue abdomen with a red-orange tip. The distinctive bright orange caterpillars with tufts of long black hairs are a garden pest that can defoliate and even kill Oleander.