Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Butterflies Reveal Biodiversity at Guantanamo

Researchers from the Florida Museum of Natural History have documented 51 different butterfly species at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, showing that the area is an inadvertent wildlife refuge and biodiversity hotspot.

The base, which covers about 45 square miles (120 square kilometers) in the southeast corner of Cuba, was leased to the United States in 1903 and much of it remains undeveloped.

"Because it is a military base — and this is true for many military bases, which typically have large areas of land — people are not trampling, bulldozing or developing the land," Roger Portell, the Florida Museum's invertebrate paleontology collections manager, said in a statement. "So there is a large area of land in the southeast corner of the island that has basically been untouched for 100 years."

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