The endemic Cuban Yellow Eurema amelia is a rare butterfly and has been found in only a few locations in Cuba. It is probably commonest in the area of laterite savanna grasslands near Albaiza, Camagüey. It often flies with Smudged Yellow Eurema lucina which looks very similar in flight so you have to wait till it settles to see the yellow underwings. The area has been farmed in the past and has held pigs but there was no sign of grazing when we visited though it is all fenced. The land contains high levels of heavy metals we are told so perhaps that is why it is no longer farmed. The grassland is scattered with occasional palms and some thorny scrub that contained small pink flowers, and the occasional pool.
We soon saw Eufala Skipper Lerodea eufala and then the first Cuban Yellow Eurema amelia. Unfortunately as I watched a robber fly snatched it in flight with its powerful legs and then proceeded to suck out its insides – it’s a dangerous world!
One of the other specialities here is Common Buckeye Junonia coenia. This is the rarest of the three Junonia and was new for us. Douglas also showed us the foodplant Tabebuia trachycarpa.
We watched a De Villiers’ Swallowtail Battus devilliers ovipositing on an Aristolochia passiflorifolia vine and when examining the plant Doug found several eggs and larvae of different sizes. Later a pair in cop allowed me at last to see them settled and close up.
We also saw two Monk Skipper Asbolis capucinus, four Nanus Skipperling Oarisma nanus and a Hanno Blue Hemiargus hanno larva. A great morning spent in a very special place.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.