White butterflies inundate CI

The Grand Cayman landscape is alive with flitters of white these days because of a population outbreak of the great southern white butterfly.

One of some 50 species of butterflies found in the Cayman Islands, the great southern white is currently very prevalent here.

‘You can see them in the hundreds,’ said local butterfly expert, Ann Stafford.

Many of the butterfly species in Cayman have increased in population after Hurricane Ivan as a result of the reduction in the number of birds, one of their natural predators.

‘A few weeks ago it was the buckeye butterfly you could see everywhere,’ said Ms Stafford.

The great southern white butterflies can now be seen feeding on nectar of several common plants that grow wild and in gardens on Grand Cayman.

Ms Stafford said she had seen many of the southern white butterflies near the new park under construction on South Church Street.

That George Town district park, which will open later this year, will attract many butterflies, Ms Stafford said. ‘They’ve planted a lot of nectar plants that butterflies feed on.’

The great southern white butterflies only have a life cycle of 14 days, Ms Stafford said.

Hundreds of dead great southern white butterflies can also be found along the roadside of South Church Street, however Ms Stafford said she did not know why they had died.

Two possible reasons could be that they were hit by cars, or they had simply reached the end of their lifecycles.

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