the Amazon and Andes
Agrias claudina lugens, Satipo,
© Tony Hoare
The Charaxinae are represented in
the neotropics by 2 tribes - the Anaeini, which includes
Consul, Memphis, Anaea,
Hypna and Siderone;
and the Preponini, which includes Anaeomorpha,
Noreppa and Agrias.
There are 5
Agrias species, and numerous subspecies. The uppersides are rarely
glimpsed as the butterflies always feed and rest with their wings firmly closed,
but if disturbed they will sometimes give a very rapid flick of the wings,
exposing the glorious upperside. In claudina the
upperside is dark brown with vivid crimson patches on the forewings. In croesus a smaller patch of the same
colour is repeated on the hindwings. The most beautiful subspecies is
sardanapalus, in which the hindwings instead are
adorned with a large patch of brilliant metallic blue.
are one of an extremely small number of butterflies which have been known to
hybridise with other genera in the wild - a taxon named
Prepona x sarumani was described by Smart in
1976, and is believed to be a hybrid between Prepona
praeneste abrupta x Agrias claudina lugens.
It was captured at Rio Huallaga, Peru. Fruhstorfer recognised the very close
relationship between Prepona and
Agrias, and some authors e.g. DeVries question
whether the 2 genera are distinct. The current taxonomical "bible" - the Atlas
of Neotropical Lepidoptera ( Lamas, 2004 ) regards the 2 genera as being
distinct, and recognises the hybrid under the name given to it by Smart.
Males of all Agrias species have prominent yellow
tufts of androconial scales on the hindwings, that disseminate pheromones to entice females to copulate.
Agrias claudina is distributed from Venezuela and
Guyana to Bolivia.
This species is found in deciduous and evergreen forest at altitudes
between about 200-600m.
The eggs are smooth, globular and laid
singly on leaves of the foodplants. The caterpillar when fully grown is olive brown, plump, and tapers toward the posterior which
is adorned with a pair of twisted
caudal tails. The neck is narrow, and the head is very large in proportion to
All Agrias sp are thought to feed on
Erythroxylum ( Erythroxylaceae ). There are also
unconfirmed records of Myrtaceae and Quiinaceae being used. The larvae feed
nocturnally, and rest by day on twigs of the foodplants. The chrysalis is pale
green, rotund, with a dorsal hump, and tapers sharply toward the stout cremaster
and the bifid head. It is suspended from a stem or leaf of the foodplant.
Agrias claudina, male with
androconial tufts displayed
butterflies spend most of their lives high in the canopy, and are
normally only observed if they are attracted to decomposing fruit,
rotting fish, or other bait laid along forest tracks or trails.
They are only active in hot conditions.