Jet Eliot

Dark Kite-swallowtail Butterfly, Belize

We had been birding the Belizean tropical jungle for days, when a new phenomenon greeted us one dawn morning: clouds of butterflies congregating around the ground.

Up until then, we had been seeing that same species, the Dark Kite-swallowtail butterfly, flying around all week. One or two, here and there, on flowers–like usual.

But this day they were in clumps of 40 and 50, always on the earth.

Dark Kite-swallowtail Butterflies, Belize

Rainforest

There were hundreds, and as we headed down the road to our destination–to watch toucans feeding–we watched them flutter all around, quite magical.

They were all on the road and the dirt, and as our truck trundled by I was nervous for their safety. They could easily be run over.

I asked the guide, “Why are all the butterflies around this morning? And in such big groups?” It was 6 a.m., no one…

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