Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Watkins Brown Morpho
ROSENBERG & TALBOT,
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - MORPHINAE
Tribe - MORPHINI
Satipo, Peru ©
The Morphinae includes
about 150 neotropical species, of which 42 are placed in the tribe
Morphini, which includes the 29 dazzling blue
Morpho species, 2 Caerois
species and 11 Antirrhea species.
Antirrhea watkinsi appears to be
restricted to the eastern Andean foothills of Peru and Bolivia, and
the lowland rainforests of Rondonia and Mato Grosso in Brazil.
This species is restricted to rainforest habitats at altitudes
between 0-1800m. The butterfly inhabits deeply shaded and swampy
areas within the forest.
I have no
information specific to watkinsi. In
most Antirrhea species the egg is pale
green dome-shaped, and laid singly on the leaves of palms (
Arecaceae ). The fully grown larvae are typically hairy, red and
yellow, with a red head and a pair of very long whip-like caudal
tails. They bite out rectangular holes from the palm leaves, giving
their presence away. The pupae are squarish, pale yellow with olive
wing cases, and have thorn-like protuberances on the abdomen.
In common with
other Antirrhea species, this butterfly
is usually encountered singly, usually being found in the darkest
dampest parts of the forest undergrowth, where it skulks beneath
bushes in the daytime. The flight is swift, skimming and weaving just
above the surface of the ground.
Males feed at
dung, urine soaked ground, decomposing fruit, moulds and fungi on the
forest floor. They can occasionally be seen on open paths and trails
at dawn or dusk, or during heavily overcast weather.