Butterflies (and moths) belong to the order Lepidoptera. The butterflies seem to have split away from the moths and then evolved over the last 70M years or so to form the six families that we know and love today.
Click on any of the boxes (except, for the moment, Riodinidae -we haven't seen any here-) to see the corresponding information and our photos or drawings (mostly taken in moist limestone forest (Windsor, Cockpit Country) or in dry limestone forest (the Silver Sands area of Trelawny).

evolutionary chart

Cockpit Country threatened by Bauxite Mining. Click here for more information

I have always had trouble identifying butterflies from the various field guides and the photo of a live Papilio thoa shows clearly how different a live animal is from the dead specimen illustrated, which has the wings relaxed and the pattern destroyed.
We have tried as far as possible to obtain live photos for this guide.

We use Brown & Heineman Jamaica and its Butterflies (1972) as our reference and some of our nomenclature may be dated. To the best of our knowledge, the species listed below are correctly classified, but please if you have any comments.

  • We haven't seen any of this family, the "Metalmarks".

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Windsor Research Centre
"Meet the Biologists" Dinner