Sunday, February 13, 2011

Heraclides pelaus puertoricensis, a black butterfly endemic of Puerto Rico

Heraclides pelaus puertoricensis

This butterfly, Heraclides pelaus puertoricensis (in some places its named portoricensis, perhaps it was named in the Porto Rico era) is endemic of Puerto Rico and is common in some of our forests.  Getting close enough to one to be able to take a good photo of this species is not that common an ocurrence.  For some unknown reason this butterfly was amazingly indifferent to my proximity which allowed me to get very close to it.  In the Rio Abajo forest you can often see these butterflies flying around blooming trees and shrubs.  However they are always alert and react quickly to any attempt to get close to them by flying away.  My guess is that this butterfly was doing was a display to attract the attention of other butterflies.  When I touched it lightly it flew away with no sign of infirmity, and its wing were in good condition which dispels the possibility that it was ill.  

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