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#Natureology Species of the Day – Homerus swallowtail (Papilio homerus)

December 29, 2012

homerus-swallowtailHomerus swallowtail or Jamaican giant swallowtail is the largest swallowtail butterfly in the Western Hemisphere and the largest species in the genus Papilio. It is found only in forests in Jamaica and is under significant pressure from habitat loss, predation and potentially also from collecting.

Homerus swallowtail was relatively common in the 1930s, but it has now retracted to a main population in the Blue and John Crow Mountains in eastern Jamaica, and a tiny population, estimated at less than 50 adults, in Cockpit Country in the west of the island. The caterpillars of this species feeds exclusively on Hernandia jamaicensis and H. catalpifolia; both of which also are endemic to Jamaica.

Homerus swallowtail listed as endangered by the IUCN and is included on Appendix I of CITES, Its thereby making international trade illegal. This species plight has attracted the attention of Jamaican people and government which must work to better protect the remaining butterfly populations and their habitat, it has been suggested that a captive breeding program and reforestation program to be promoted to save the species from extinction.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2012 10:53 pm

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  1. 10 Caribbean species saved from extinction « wildplanet

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