Air-breathing invertebrates are unavoidable in any tropical locale. Some are annoying (gnats and no-see-ums) and some can cause pain when they bite (red ants), but many are beautiful (butterflies and moths) and all are fascinating.
Butterflies and Moths
Chiapas has an incredible abundance of beautiful moths and butterflies, some 80 percent of all the species found in Mexico. Hikers might see the magnificent turquoise emperor, regal greatstreak, bar-celled oleria, orange kite swallowtail, Florida white, tiger eye hairstreak, cassius blue, red-bordered pixie, malachite, and forest bluevent. The famous monarch also is a visitor during its annual migration from Florida to the Central American mountains where it spends the winter.
Many Chiapanecan communities raise bees for honey production, a tradition that began with the ancient Maya, who were expert beekeepers. (Honey was one of the most prized—and widely traded—commodities in the Maya world; some researchers say the Descending God figure at several archaeological sites is the god of bees.) The beekeeping tradition that lives on today is much reduced, thanks in part to the availability of cheap standard honey. Nevertheless, Chiapanecan honey, which is harvested using modern methods, is still marketed at organic and health-food stores.
© Liza Prado and Gary Chandler from Moon Chiapas, 1st Edition