We took the road today towards La Pimienta. Most visitors go here to see the caves or to go to the Paladar (a privately-run Cuban restaurant) but we took our own lunch so that we could be out in the field for longer and to see what butterflies we could find. Even before we got there we stopped for a short walk at a spot where we had noticed some small rice paddies. Whilst I was photographing the numerous Phaon Crescent Phyciodes phaon next to the track Rayner spotted a Purple Gallinule creeping through the vegetation on the other side of the road.
There were also some rather photogenic dragonflies that are as yet unidentified so any assistance hare will be gratefully received.
I spent some time taking photos of the groups of yellows that were taking moisture and minerals on the track. I’ve found that by running off a large number of pictures taken on a fast speed setting combined with a little persistence means that you get a small number of useable photos of butterflies in flight showing the upperwings of species that habitually settle with closed wings.
Traditional thinking has it that Barred Yellow Eurema daira and Banded Yellow Eurema elathea cannot be identified in the field without catching them and looking at the upperwings. I believe that this is often not the case and I hope in time to show using good photographs that many males, especially when fresh, can easily be split. They never hold their wings open when settled so the upperwings are not visible, however in good sunlight and with the light behind you can usually see the bar of the males on the forewing showing through on the underside. In E. daira this bar is curved and in E. elathea it is straight. Females are another matter as they lack the bar on the forewing.
We found several more larvae of Zarucco Skipper Erynnis zarucco in this area and it was nice to get decent shots of Caribbean Banner Lucinia sida and the underside of Cuban Sicklewing E. papinianus with its distinctive down-curved wings.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.