The larvae of certain Heraclides butterflies that feed on the “Ajachel” or “Matasanos” tree (Casimiroa edulis) illustrate this well. This tree lends its name to Panajachel, our neighboring town. In Kaqchikel “pan” means “among” and “ajachel” the tree. A century ago matasanos were abundant in town. Nevertheless, today there are less than 30 extant trees in the valley of Panajachel and the butterfly is seldom seen. No trees no butterflies.
The Reserve has planted more than 4 thousand ajachel trees in the last 5 years, as part of an Atitlan watershed biodiversity protection plan.