During my stranding in Santiago, I went to a few bookstores and was surprised to discover a guide to Chilean butterflies in one – clearly I needed to buy it. Published in 1996 by two Chilean naturalists, it is a well-illustrated and informative book and all text is in both English and Spanish besides the two forewords one of which is in English and the other in Spanish – and they are entirely different.
|Vanessa carye, Chiloe Island|
In Santiago, I caught up to Vanessa carye and Phoebis sennae (cloudless sulphur), and on to Chiloe I went.
The overnight bus ride to Chiloe gave me time to scope out the possible species on the island According to the guide, there are 10 species on Chiloe Island – and a detailed survey of the center I am at during 2002 and 2003 turned up 9 of them (Concha-Bloomfield & Parra 2006).
|Butleria elwesi, Chiloe Island|
The first day here just walking around the center, I found 4 species – including one not found during 2002-2003, again, Vanessa carye, which may be fairly irruptive, like its northern relatives the painted and American ladies - and this year it is common here and in Santiago. Since then I have found another two species and the other four should be around later in the summer. My goal now is to photograph them all.
|Neomaenas poliosoma, Chiloe Island|
The radiation of Chilean Satyrnidae, to which this guy belongs, is a group that very little is known of. For what it is worth, I find this species commonly in little forest breaks where fern and bamboo grow.
|Colias vautherii, female|
|Colias vautherii, male|
The above species belongs to the same family as the cabbage white and sulphurs at home. The male is bright orange on the upperwings and the female white/black.
This guy is by far my favorite butterfly here. A large, high-flying and gaudy species, this was the only picture I could get of it - resting and nectaring on "michay", Berberis darwini, a holly-like barberry common here and one of many plants that Darwin first collected for western science.