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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Lobelia Blue Ringlet
Caeruleuptychia lobelia  BUTLER, 1870
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
subtribe - EUPTYCHIINA

Caeruleuptychia lobelia, Madre de Dios, Peru Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
There are 1100 known species of Satyrinae in the neotropical region. About 400 of these are placed in the Euptychiina. Butterflies within this tribe include the "ringlet" genera Euptychia, Magneuptychia, Harjesia, Cissia, Caeruleuptychia, Magneuptychia, Harjesia etc; together with Oressinoma and the various "wood nymph" genera i.e. Parataygetis, Posttaygetis and Taygetis. Most are inhabitants of the forest understorey and tend to fly close to the ground. They generally avoid sunlight and prefer to fly at dawn or on cloudy days when light levels and temperatures are low.
Until fairly recently almost all of the "ringlets" were placed in the genus Euptychia, but revisions by Forster and Lamas divide this "convenience" genus into a number of smaller genera, on the basis of anatomical differences and larval foodplants. There are 42 species of "blue ringlets", now variously allocated to the genera Caeruleuptychia, Cepheuptychia and Chloreuptychia.
Distinguishing between the 25 species of Caeruleuptychia is largely a matter of noting differences in the number and size of the ocelli on the underside hindwings, which are generally constant in each species.
Caeruleuptychia lobelia appears to be confined to the Upper Amazonian areas of Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.
Habitats
The butterfly occurs in wet lowland tropical rainforest at elevations between 0-900m.
Lifecycle
I have no data regarding any Caeruleuptychia species, but the lifecycle will probably be similar to that of Chloreuptychia, as described below :
The egg is globular and shining white. Chloreuptychia lay their eggs singly on Eleusine, Oplismenus and Ichnanthus ( Poaceae ) where these grasses grow around the base of trees. When fully grown the larva is mottled in shades of brown, and has a row of diamond-shaped marks along the back. It's head is black with a pair of short horns that bear auxiliary spines. The tip of the abdomen bears a pair of caudal prongs. In common with almost all other Satyrine larvae, it feeds nocturnally. The pupae of Chloreuptychia are wedge-shaped, mottled in shades of brown, and are formed attached by the cremaster to a stem, projecting horizontally.
Adult behaviour

The butterflies inhabit the understorey, and are usually only seen along the darker and narrower trails. They don't visit flowers but feed instead at decomposing fungi and bird droppings. Most of the time they sit motionless on leaves in the shade, and if disturbed they generally fly a distance of no more than 3 or 4 metres, and then re-settle.

It is likely that the wings reflect high levels of ultra-violet, enabling the butterflies to locate potential mates visually in the dark environment where they breed. The vertical lines on the underside are an example of disruptive colouration. They help break up the outline of the wings into separate shapes, making it more difficult for a bird to detect the butterfly. If however a bird succeeds in discovering where it has settled, the butterfly has a secondary defence in the form of the ocelli on the underside hindwings. These function to divert attacks away from the butterfly's vulnerable body, allowing it to escape with nothing worse than a pecked wing.

 

 

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