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On this Caribbean cruise, I organized my own onshore “excursions”. As the weather was not cooperating on the day we arrived at St. Thomas, the idea of snorkeling evaporated. Instead, we decided to stay close to the ship. I (Chris) went to a butterfly garden that is situated right next to the cruise ship terminal.

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The garden has a hatchery and a guide explained the biology of the butterfly. Fascinating.

Many chrysalis have two shiny metallic dots. I wonder what they do for the caterpillar inside.  The chrysalis of the “paper kite” (Idea leuconoe) is gold in color with black dots. Very eye catching.

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The black & white “paper kite” is a native of Asia.

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The butterflies are imported as chrysalis from the US and all are exotic species from various parts of the world. None are indigenous to the Caribbean.

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We watched a few emerged from their chrysalis. This is a common Morpho neotrpical (Morpho peleides) emerging from its light green chrysalis.

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The keeper allowed us to touch the wings of the newly emerged before they become hardened. It was floppy and a bit wet.

Pink Rose (Pachliopta kotzebuea)

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The red and black head/body and bug-eye made me think of spiderman.

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This leopard lacewing (Cethosia cyane) from Asia flew off my finger as soon as its wing was dry and they become fully expanded.

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Busily working on the many flowers in the garden.

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According to the guide, the lizards in the garden will try to catch and eat the butterfly. This is a Morpho showing off the metallic blue side of its wing.

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The underside of the Morpho is very dramatic with big eyespots.

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Butterflies live on nectar and are equipped with a straw-like mouthpart which curls up when not feeding.

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The butterfly garden also had a moth – an African moon (Argema mimosae)(I think) which just emerged from its chrysalis and was resting in a little fabric tent. This moth is about the size of a small child’s palm, practically a very small bird.  I would be quite startled if I encounter it in an African jungle.

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Right outside the garden, someone spotted a hummingbird.

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I have never seen a hummingbird outside of an aviary. This is the first time I got so close.

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It was good to see a bit of nature’s designs. A nice way to spend a few hours onshore.

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One Comment

  1. very nice and tranquil.


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