Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Narrow-lined Hairstreak
Arawacus leucogyna  FELDER & FELDER, 1865
subfamily - THECLINAE
Arawacus leucogyna, Otun-Quimbaya, Colombia Adrian Hoskins
Almost all neotropical Theclinae species are placed in the Eumaeini. The tribe is not particularly well represented in collections, so until fairly recently a high percentage remained unstudied, and were inappropriately filed away in the 'convenience' genus Thecla. Many taxonomists have attempted to rationalise the systematics of the Eumaeini, the most recent being Robbins who published a revision in 2004, reclassifying the taxa into 83 genera. Currently there are 1058 known species. Taking into account their small size, secretive behaviour, and the great similarities between many species, it is estimated that about another 200 species probably remain to be discovered.
There are 18 species of Arawacus, all confined to the neotropical region. All have a similar pattern of brown or black stripes radiating from the tornus of the hindwing and terminating at points along the forewing costa. In some species the stripes are narrow and well defined, while in others such as separata they are broad and suffused.
The pattern serves to divert the eye of birds away from the butterfly's head and body, and towards the 'false antennae' tails. Immediately after settling the butterfly characteristically gyrates to face in the opposite direction and dips its head. It then slowly oscillates the hindwings, causing the tails to wiggle, which further acts to focus the observer's attention on the rear of the butterfly.
The appearance and behaviour described above creates a 'back to front' illusion that tricks birds into aiming at the wrong part of the butterfly. Birds typically try to increase their chances of a direct hit by aiming their attack just ahead of where they expect the butterfly to fly, but are fooled into aiming behind, instead of in front of the target. The likely result is that the butterfly is able to make its escape in the opposite direction.
Arawacus leucogyna is distributed from Belize to Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru. Another very similar species is sito which is found from Mexico to Costa Rica.
Arawacus leucogyna, Otun-Quimbaya, Colombia Adrian Hoskins
This species is found in forest edge habitats at altitudes between about 500-1800m.
To be completed.
Arawacus leucogyna, Otun-Quimbaya, Colombia Adrian Hoskins
Adult behaviour

Both sexes nectar at Eupatorium, Lantana and various other flowering shrubs. Males perch on the foliage of shrubs and saplings at trail intersections.

Arawacus leucogyna, Otun-Quimbaya, Colombia Adrian Hoskins



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