"" Writer's Wanderings: Grand Cayman - Butterflies And More Butterflies!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Grand Cayman - Butterflies And More Butterflies!

Our annual dive trip to Grand Cayman was a few weeks ago. This year my diving was limited since my knees are so bad. I was afraid I couldn't climb back up the swim ladder and they'd have to tow me back to shore. So I spent time in the pool and walked each morning to get some exercise. My first morning walk had me thinking I was back home with the cottonwood fluff flying around. But no! The fluff had wings and fluttered. There were hundreds of white butterflies everywhere.

This was unusual since we've been going to Grand Cayman for years now and never saw this before. Could it be that the hurricanes somehow carried the larva to the island? Did a ship maybe transport butterflies somehow? So many species are often carried unsuspected to places from other lands by way of transport vessels or even, dare I say, cruise ships?

Surely there was an explanation and my inquiring mind searched it out. They are called Southern White Butterflies and come mainly from Florida, the southern US east coast and the Gulf of Mexico. They are thriving on some of the plants of Grand Cayman but are in no danger, according to an expert in the field, of destroying gardens. The wild plant they like so much is called Bloody Head--Raw Bones and then they enjoy the nectar of several other plants prevalent in the Caymans.

They have been known to have large outbreaks of population and are somewhat migratory. They have spread as far as Patagonia in South America at times.

There was another explosion of the butterfly population back in 2005. It was due in part to the reduction of the bird population from  Hurricane Ivan. I don't recall seeing them back then but perhaps it was because we were diving in September rather than June/July.

No matter, the butterflies were a fun and pretty part of our visit. They reminded me of the clusters of blue butterflies we'd seen on Magnetic Island in Australia. Wonder if they're related?

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