Field Guide of Cozumel butterflies- over 85 species on this small island!

Mariposas de México, Quintana Roo, Cozumel

UPDATE- 55 species photographed Dec. 4-10, 2017, including 14 newly photographed Cozumel species. One species is unlike any butterfly found in the literature, and I am tentatively claiming it as a Cozumel endemic species. See Hairstreaks.

Some additional species have been linked from Flickr, Facebook, Neotropical Butterflies, Butterflies and Moths of North America, and other sites.There are now about 85 species confirmed for Cozumel and documented in this field guide. This probably includes virtually every species a short term visitor to Cozumel is likely to see.  Corrections and additions appreciated!

This field guide presents photographs of all the butterflies you're likely to see when visiting the island of Cozumel.  Cozumel is an island in the western Caribbean and is part of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.  It is about 30 miles long and 9 miles wide sitting only 12 miles from the Mexican mainland.  
According to the Swift Guide to Mexican Butterflies by Jeffrey Glassberg, the first field guide to document with pictures and range maps all known butterflies of Mexico, there are about 1750 Mexican species of butterflies to be found, about 10% of the world's butterflies.  Over 400 species appear, from the range maps, to occur in the Yucatan Peninsula. How many of those 400+ species occur on Cozumel? 
Doug talking to field trip students

                                                                          Doug leading a nature hike and sharing a log with
                                                                           a common brown water snake! Click on photos to enlarge.

Good question!  I'd guess that maybe 90 butterfly species are permanent residents with many more accidental or even occasional visitors from the mainland.  More intriguing is the possibility that endemic species and Caribbean species occur on Cozumel that do not occur on the nearby mainland. There are 4 well known avian endemics on Cozumel, one probably extinct, and additional Caribbean bird species that are seldom found on the mainland.

After several butterflying trips to the Cancun/Playa Carmen corridor of Quintana Roo, I began to wonder about Cozumel species. In spring 2014, I searched the internet for information about Cozumel butterfly species.  I emailed several entomologists at the University of Florida and elsewhere for information about same. No one seemed to know.  In July of 2014. I contacted Sherri Davis who lives on the island, and had developed a butterfly garden, Patas & Allas Buttery Sanctuary, no longer in operation. Neither she nor anyone else I have contacted or spoken to is aware of extensive field studies on the island.

I could easily have missed finding Cozumel butterfly information especially if written in Spanish. Please leave a comment with any information or leads.  I will be returning to Cozumel the third time in a little over a year this autumn.
This field guide is based on the organization and page numbers in the Swift Guide to Mexican Butterflies.  To go to a butterfly family or subgroup click a link in the navigation bar to the left.  Click on any photograph to enlarge it.

I found about 45 species of butterflies on Cozumel during 3 days early August, 2014 and an additional 15 species during 3 days on Cozumel in early March, 2015.  An additional 20 species were found the week of Dec 3-10, 2016, and the Cozumel list presently stands at about 85 species.  All of them shown herein. I have also researched and included all the Cozumel records from Butterflies and Moths of North America and Butterflies of America.  If you find any additional species or if you find Monarchs on any visit to Cozumel, please give us information in the Comments below.

For easy comparison of Cozumel species with those on the mainland and elsewhere, I include photographs of both Cozumel species and a few photographed elsewhere in Quintana Roo, Texas, or Florida.  Click on any of the  photos to enlarge them. I'm indicating tentative or possible possible "Cozumel forms."   Eventually, only collection and examination will determine if there are Cozumel endemic species, but I think the Cozumel Golden Hairstreak is likely, and endemic Eurema species and Scintillant Metalmarks are possible. 



For the companion Yucatan Peninsula field guide click HERE

Page numbers refer to Swift Guide to Mexican Butterflies by Jeffrey Glassberg.
Abreviations are QR= Quintana Roo;  JB= Jardin Botanico; COZ=Cozumel;  LRGV= Lower Rio Grande Valley;  SF = south Florida