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In case you haven´t heard, butterflies are the new birds! Butterfly-watching is a growing hobby and the remarkable diversity of species and habitats in Paraguay make it the ideal place to give it a try. Our butterfly tours will not only concentrate on the diurnal families, but also involve searching for moths after dark. Despite very little in the way of studies on the Lepidopteran fauna of the country over 800 species of diurnal butterfly, 105 hawkmoths and 99 emperor moths have been recorded here. Send us an email and we can start planning your route.
Catharisa cerina (right)
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To see as many species of Lepidoptera as we can!
This tour is designed in consultation with the client. We recommend at least 10 days.
Best time to visit:
Insect activity is greatest from September to February when considerably more species are likely to be encountered than during the rest of the year. Insect populations can vary depending on climatic conditions and frequently they are greater following periods of rain. The rainy season in Paraguay is from late September to early November with a short wet period in April. At this time toads may be muddy.
This tour is designed in consultation with the client. Note that the price per person per day for days in the Chaco differs from days spent in eastern Paraguay.
(Itineraries are subject to change according to levels of animal activity or client´s preference.)
What else might we see?:
The distinction between butterflies and moths is an artifical one. Some butterflies fly at dusk, some moths fly during the day. Besides some species belonging to families considered to be "moths" are actually more closely related to families considered to be "butterflies" than other "moths". Taking that into account our butterfly tours don´t make the distinction and when we say "butterflies" what we really mean to say is "Lepidopterans".
The Lepidopteran fauna of Paraguay has scarcely been studied but is clearly extremely diverse. On this tour you will have two tour leaders, one a diurnal butterfly guide who will help you put names on the myriad of attractive butterflies that we encounter during the day. The other is a nocturnal butterfly guide, Sergio Rios of the Asunción Natural History Museum who, armed with a light trap, will be aiming to chalk up an equally impressive list of moths.
For nocturnal species we will concentrate mainly on the largest, most spectacular and most well-known families, the Sphingidae (hawkmoths), Saturniidae (emperor moths) and Castniidae (giant butterfly moths). A huge number of species of other families will of course be encountered but given the problems of taxonomy, the incredible diversity of species, the confused literature and the existence of a wealth of undescribed species identification to species level is simply not always possible in the field. Sergio will however be on hand to classify the species to generic or familial level where it is possible to do so, and clients are encouraged to photograph as many species as possible for identification later in comparison with existing museum collections. Even amongst the larger families much remains to be discovered. Two new species of Emperor Moths to science have been described from Paraguay in the last few years whilst we rediscovered the enigmatic Catharina cerisa at Laguna Blanca in November 2006, a species known at the time only from 2 or 3 very old specimens.
Armed with a net each we will be catching (where necessary), identifying and releasing diurnal butterflies during the day with a brief siesta after lunch to recharge our batteries. By visiting a variety of different habitats you can guarantee a more diverse list of species, and though the Swallowtails (Papillionidae) and Brushfoot Butterflies (Nymphalidae) are the ones that will most grab your attention, we will not be neglecting the smaller species, the Skippers (Hesperidae) and Hairstreaks (Lycaenidae). These latter two families are very poorly known in this region and again clients are encouraged to photograph them for confirmation of identification of some species.
Records of butterflies and moths from these tours will be incorporated into a national database of records and contributed to the Universidad de Pilar Butterflies of Paraguay Atlas Project. We aim to begin to establish the first site lists for Paraguayan butterflies ever compiled and begin to contribute to a better understanding of the remarkable diversity of species that inhabit the country.
Purple Emperor Doxocopa agathina
What does it include?:
The price includes pick-up from and return to Asunción hotel, accommodation, transport, food, non-alcoholic drinks and guiding fees.
It does not include travel insurance, personal expenses, alcoholic drinks or travel costs incurred before the beginning of the tour or after return to Asunción.
For further information or to book your tour email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask about off-season discounts (15 Feb-15 July).