Butterflies | Christmas Island National Park

Christmas Island is home to 28 different species of butterfly. Many of the species are common to mainland Asia, however there is one species endemic to Christmas Island (Christmas Emperor), and two endemic subspecies (Climena Crow and Scalloped Grass-Yellow). Not much is known about some of the butterflies as they are difficult to observe. This is the case with the Christmas Emperor, which lives high in the rainforest canopy.

Originally, naturalists in 1900 found nine species of butterfly on the Island (excluding three skippers). This included the Christmas Emperor, Climena Crow, Scalloped Grass-Yellow and a vagrant species, the Evening Brown. By 1940 the list had increased to 13 species, and by 1980 it stood at 22 species.

This brochure describes some of the butterfly species known to occur on Christmas Island and gives an insight in to the life cycle of these beautiful insects.