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Butterflies Fly Free to Providenciales

Turks and Caicos Butterflies Beautiful to Behold

Exhausted your list of things to do in the Turks and Caicos Islands? Then stroll through our lush gardens popping with brilliant flowers and try to spot the queen.

Spot The Turks and Caicos Monarch

She is a regal Monarch who has appeared on postage stamps in the Turks and Caicos Islands. But did you know she can taste through her feet?!
Turks and Caicos butterfly
No we’re not talking about her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England; we’re referring to the Monarch Butterfly. While this monarch doesn’t wear a crown nor can it sign bills into law, the beloved Monarch butterfly is a frequent flyer in the Turks and Caicos Islands and has often been pictured on the country’s stamps.

When you’re enjoying the phenomenal things to do on Providenciales including numerous beach and water activities, you’ll probably catch sight of a butterfly in the midst. The islands are home to over 40 varieties of these fascinating insects.

Find the Flittering Fritillary

Probably the most common butterfly in this part of the world is the Gulf Fritillary known for its long narrow wings which are bright orange with black markings. It takes its name from its migration pattern which goes over the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf Fritillary has buff coloured underwings which are highlighted with silvery patches, and it feeds on the passion flower which thrives in the islands.

blooming bougainvillea on Providenciales

Striking Swallowtails

Very striking with black-brown wings and yellow markings, the Bahaman Swallowtail is very common to the Turks and Caicos. This fascinating flyer predominantly visits the Providenciales area rather than Grand Turk and has also been featured on the national postage stamp.

Hairstreak Heaven

The Lycaenidae family of butterflies includes a variety of members, most of which are smaller in size. They like to feed on flowering bushes. One sub family type of Lycaenidae called the Hairstreak has interesting physical features. It has tails on its hindwings and bright spots that look like eyes, all which give the illusion of a head at the back of its wings. This combination helps it to outwit and survive predators.

Caribbean buckeye butterfly

Where’s Pierid?

The Pierid is a common butterfly throughout the islands, but it can be difficult to see as it blends very well into surrounding foliage. This yellow or white with a green tinge-colored butterfly never rests with its wings open. Shutting its wings offers protection from predators as its appearance resembles that of a leaf.

Caribbean Buckeye’s Scents Sense

Another common island butterfly is the Caribbean Buckeye named for its curious appearance. Its brown wings feature three eyespots called ocelli on each side. The wings have whitish edges that almost like lace edging on a table cloth. This butterfly is a member of the Nymphalidae family, brush footed butterflies meaning they have front legs which are tiny brushes of hairs used to smell and taste.

So while you’re soaking up the island sun, take a closer look around you. You might just see something flutter around the gardens at Villa del Mar. The Turks and Caicos butterfly with its quivering wing or antenna might not be a true royal wave, but rest assured it’s a greeting nonetheless.