Jamaica is one of the most bio diverse countries on the planet. There are 28 species of bird, 830 types of flowering plants and 562 varieties of snails in Jamaica. In addition to this there are 27 varieties of reptile, 21 species of amphibian and 82 different ferns. All these species can only be found in Jamaica. Indeed thanks to the endemic plant life, Jamaica is ranked 5th amongst the world islands for endemic species. This fauna provides home, shelter and food for a vast array of wildlife. This has resulted in Jamaica being one of the worldwide destinations for eco tourists, looking to enjoy nature at its finest.
Whether you have come to Jamaica to see the 28 endemic bird species, 562 types of snails in Jamaica, or the incredible scenery, Green Castle Estate provides the perfect location. Basing yourself at the Green Castle Estate Hotel and nature lodge ensures you can spend all day bird watching, hiking the numerous trails or taking a guided tour to see all the natural species that make Jamaica unique. Other guided tours on the Island may have to travel 1-2 hours to visit Green Castle and the natural paradise the eco park contains. Green Castle hotel guests can immediately relax afterwards in the pool and enjoy the breathtaking views.
Although it is widely known that Jamaica harbours many endemic species of birds and lizards, few people know that there are a rich variety of snails in Jamaica. Currently, Jamaica is the home of 562 species of land snails, which is considerably higher than the 431 native species known in the United States east of the Mississippi River. 505 are endemic to Jamaica.
Jamaica is also home to a number of species of bats and butterflies, which are endemic. There are three areas in Jamaica, famed for their biodiversity and that present great opportunities to see the wonderous endemic species of Jamaica. The Blue Mountains in the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, Green Castle Eco Park and Cockpit Country.
At Cockpit Country it is possible to see 71 of the Jamaica endemic plant species. There have also been sightings of the 33 endemic reptile species and nearly all of the 21frog species in Jamaica. The Blue Mountains and John Crow Mountains provide home to a large proportion of the migratory bird species that flock to the Caribbean. A little bit like us, taking a vacation to warmer climates and the tropical paradise that is Jamaica. The Blue mountains are popular with locals and international visitors alike due to this array of wildlife. This can mean a large number of visitors and bird watchers on the trails. It is recommended to take a guided tour to ensure the best opportunity of seeing the beautiful animals Green Castle eco park offers the best location to see the animals, birds, flower, fauna and snails in Jamaica. Feeding on the snails in Jamaica, are a host of birds, animals and reptiles, that can all be seen when walking round the Green Castle eco park.
Recently at Green Castle, a research project was undertaken to scout out potential habitats for one of the smallest snails in Jamaica. These beautiful, tapered tiny glass snails (< 2mm) live in moist leaf litter of cool shady forestland far from agricultural development, pastures and human habitation. Although Green Castle has much woodland, it nonetheless has witnessed much agricultural development throughout its rich history and could thus amongst other reasons, not harbor these minute snails.
After having unsuccessfully scouted out potential habitats along the A3 towards Castleton as well as the Castleton Botanical Gardens, our guest researchers persisted for a few days and finally found a prolific population in the Blue and John Crow Mountains. Thanks to the expert driving help of Trevor Condappa of Trev Tours, live Jamaican microsnails could be found. Our guests not only enjoyed staying at Green Castle but they successfully completed their “mission” of locating a live population of some of Jamaica’s tiniest snails.
Between 1999-2003 Green Castle was visited by a joint team from UWI and Murray State University. Discovering a series of Taino burial sites, there were also marine and terrestrial shells dating back to 1000AD. The wildlife at Green Castle has been a near constant dating back to this time, as the same land snails still inhabit the eco park today. One type of snail in Jamaica you should not come across is the Giant African Land Snail. These types of snails in Jamaica and the Caribbean are extremely destructive and can destroy vast swathes of green fauna, which is why they are not welcome.
As well as snails in Jamaica, our friends at national living treasures have also provided this handy list of other wildlife that can be seen at Green Castle eco park and in Jamaica. Birds found nowhere else than Jamaica include the Yellow-billed Amazon (birdfinding.info), the Jamaican Parakeet (eBird), the Crested Quail-Dove (eBird), the Ring-tailed Pigeon (eBird), the Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo (iNaturalist), the Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo (eBird), the Jamaican Woodpecker (eBird), the Jamaican Tody (eBird), the Jamaican Mango (iNaturalist), the Jamaican Spindalis (Steve Metz), the Jamaican Euphonia (eBird), the White-eyed Thrush (birdfinding.info), the Jamaican Vireo (eBird), and the Jamaican Poorwill (EDGE). Birds representing endemic genera include the Jamaican Owl (eBird), the Red-billed Streamertail (birdfinding.info), the Yellow-shouldered Grassquit (eBird), the Orangequit (eBird), and the Jamaican Blackbird (eBird).
Mammals unique to Jamaica include the Jamaican Hutia (ARKive WM) (BioLib), the Jamaican Fig-eating Bat Ariteus flavescens (ResearchGate), the Jamaican Moustached Bat (Cockpit Country), the Jamaican Flower Bat Phyllonycteris aphylla (BCI) (BHL), the Jamaican Greater Funnel-eared Bat Natalus jamaicensis (BHL) (EDGE), the Jamaican Red Bat Lasiurus degelidus (BHL), and the the Jamaican Brown Bat Eptesicus lynni (p. 31 of NEPA pdf file).
Reptiles restricted to Jamaica include the Jamaican Iguana (IIF), the Jamaican Twig Anole (Saumfinger.de), the Bluefields Anole (iNaturalist), the Blue Mountain Anole (iNaturalist), the Jamaican Giant Gecko (ResearchGate), the Jamaican Forest Dwarf Gecko (iNaturalist), the Southern Jamaica Banded Dwarf Gecko (iNaturalist),the Jamaican Ameiva (flickr), the Jamaican Skink (Save Goat Island), the Limestone Forest Galliwasp (Reptile Database), the Blue-tailed Galliwasp (Save Goat Island), the Jamaican Eyespot Dwarf Boa (Ian G. Brennan), the Jamaican Boa (ARKive WM), the Jamaican Red Racerlet (flickr), the Jamaican Blindsnake (flickr), and the Jamaican Slider (flickr).
All of Jamaica’s native amphibians are endemic including the Jamaican Forest Frog Eleutherodactylus gossei (iNaturalist), the Jamaican Cave Frog Eleutherodactylus cundalli (ARKive WM), the Western Yellow-bellied Frog Eleutherodactylus pantoni (flickr), the Portland Bight Cave Frog Eleutherodactylus cavernicola (Save Goat Island), the Jamaican Masked Frog Eleutherodactylus luteolus (ARKive WM), the Jamaican Laughing Tree Frog Osteopilus ocellatus (flickr), and the Jamaican Snoring Tree Frog Osteopilus crucialis (IUCN).
Freshwater fish known solely from Jamaica include the Jamaican Killifish Cubanichthys pengelleyi (It Rains Fish), the Striped Gambusia Gambusia melapleura (FishBase), Wray’s Gambusia Gambusia wrayi (STRI), the Blackbelly Limia Limia melanogaster (Seriously Fish), and the Blue Poecilia Poecilia caudofasciata (fig. 6 at BHL).
Butterflies exclusively found in Jamaica include the Homerus Swallowtail (Butterflies of America), the Thersites Swallowtail (Butterflies of America), the Jamaican Kite (ATL pdf file), the Jamaican Checkerspot (Butterflies of America), the Jamaican Flasher (Butterflies of America), the Jamaican Calisto (Butterflies of America), the Jamaican Sister (iNaturalist), the Jamaican Mestra (iNaturalist), and Turner’s Skipper Troyus turneri (Butterflies of America). Other endemic insects include the moths Idalus delicata (iNaturalist) and Antichloris quadricolor (iNaturalist), an extinct dayflying moth Urania sloanus (Moths of Jamaica), a damselfly Diceratobasis macrogaster (flickr), a stick insect Diapherodes jamaicensis (Phasmatodea), the longhorned beetles Eburia jamaicae (iNaturalist) and Leptostylopsis jamaicensis (iNaturalist), a cave-dwelling ground beetle Platynus cavicola (GBIF), a grasshopper Dellia karstica , an ant Leptogenys reggae a metallic green bee Agapostemon jamaicensis and the Jamaican Cavefly Neoditomyia farri
Other endemic invertebrates include the velvetworms Speleoperipatus spelaeus (ARKive WM) and Plicatoperipatus jamaicensis (iNaturalist), the Jamaican Bromeliad Crab Metopaulias depressus (ScienceMedia), a cave-dwelling crab Sesarma verleyi (JCO), a spiny orb-weaver Micrathena rufopunctata (iNaturalist), a smiley-faced spider Spintharus davidattenboroughi (ResearchGate), a flattie spider Selenops wilmotorum (Species-ID), and 505 endemic terrestrial molluscs including all of the helicinid snails (Jamaican Biotic Survey) and annulariid snails (Jamaican Biotic Survey). A gastrotrich family, the Hummondasyidae (ResearchGate), is currently known only from Jamaica.
Among more than 800 vascular plant species unique to Jamaica are the palms Thrinax excelsa (Wikipedia), Calyptronoma occidentalis (PACSOA), and Roystonea princeps (flickr). Endemic orchids include Tolumnia triquetra (IOPSE), Broughtonia sanguinea (iNaturalist), Pleurothallis hirsutula (IOPSE), and Lepanthes obtusa (IOPSE). Other endemic plants include a bromeliad Tillandsia adamsii (Cockpit Country), Wercklea flavovirens (ARKive WM), the Aluminum Plant Pilea grandifolia (TopTropicals.com), a birch Bursera hollickii (Save Goat Islands), Podocarpus purdieanus (RBGE), Begonia minor (flickr), Justicia jamaicensis (iNaturalist), Blakea trinervia (flickr), Phyllanthus arbuscula (Wikipedia), and Brunfelsia jamaicensis (ARKive WM). Endemic plant genera include Portlandia (iNaturalist), Odontocline (flickr), Zemisia (iNaturalist), Dendrocousinsia (Semantic Scholar), Hippobroma (POWO), Salpixantha (BHL), Jacmaia (GBIF), and Tetrasiphon (BHL) (JSTOR).