Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - LIMENITIDINI
Satipo, Peru ©
are colloquially known as 'Sisters'. There are 85 known species, all
except two of which are confined to the neotropics. The butterflies
are characterised by having a distinctive black marbled pattern
overlaid on an earthy brown ground colour; and by the presence of a
broad orange or white band on the forewings. The hindwings of many
species have a white median band.
several Adelpha species that feature a
broad orange band on the forewings, but lack any orange or white
markings on the hindwings. In most of these species the orange fw
band starts mid way along the costa and terminates at the tornus. In
contrast mesentina the band runs
vertically and terminates half way along the inner margin.
occurs in the eastern Andes from Venezuela to Bolivia, on the Guyana
shield, and throughout central and western Amazonia. It is a common
species in the southern Amazon, e.g. in Mato Grosso, Rondonia and
Madre de Dios.
breeds in lowland and mid-elevation wet forest habitats at altitudes
between sea level and about 1200m.
have no data specific to mesentina. The
following generalisations apply to the genus
Adelpha: The eggs of most species are white or pale green,
and are laid singly on leaves of the foodplants which include
Rubiaceae, Moraceae, Urticaceae, Verbenaceae, Melastomaceae,
Bombacaceae, Ulmaceae, Piperaceae, Tiliaceae or Ericaceae according
to species. The young larvae nibble away at the tips of leaves,
leaving the midrib projecting. They construct a chain of frass along
the midrib and rest at the end of it. The frass chains appear to act
as a deterrent to ants, spiders and parasitoids which find it
difficult to walk on them. When fully grown the larvae are
cryptically coloured and resemble bird droppings, mossy twigs or
bits of curled up dead leaf. They have 2 rows of conspicuous spines
along their backs, those on the first two segments being enlarged
and directed forward, while the third pair are directed backward.
The pupae, which are suspended by the cremaster, are in some species
green or brown, while others are entirely silver, and shiny. The
pupae of some species are decorated with numerous spikes and
projections, and sometimes have very prominent palpi.
Adelpha mesentina is almost always
encountered in two's and three's, usually in the company of other
Males often visit damp ground to
imbibe mineral rich moisture. They normally settle for several minutes
at a time, and hold their wings flat when feeding. In exceptionally
hot weather they feed with wings held erect.
Peru © Adrian