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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Superb Numberwing
Callicore excelsior  HEWITSON, 1858
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - BIBLIDINAE
Tribe - CALLICORINI
Callicore excelsior pastazza, Tingo Maria, Peru Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
There are about 20 species in the genus Callicore, all of which bear distinctive and graphic patterns on the underside hindwings, often resembling numbers or letters of the alphabet. The uppersides of all species are blackish, marked on the forewings with bright red or orange bands. The hindwings of several species also have red or orange markings but in most species they are plain black, with a very reflective brilliant blue sheen.
Unfortunately these beautiful butterflies are killed in vast numbers for their wings which are used by the souvenir trade for the production of decorated plates, jewellery, place mats and other trivia.
Callicore excelsior is black on the upper surface, with a metallic deep blue sheen on the hindwings, and a broad arc of orange or red ( according to subspecies ) on the forewings.
This species occurs in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia.
Habitats
Callicore excelsior is found in wet tropical rainforest at altitudes between about 200-1000m on the eastern side of the Andes.
Lifecycle
I have no information specific to excelsior. In most Callicore species the eggs are white, and are laid singly on Serjania, Allophylus or other Sapindaceae.
Adult behaviour

The butterflies are usually encountered as solitary males. They have a rapid and powerful flight over short distances.

Males often visit river beaches to imbibe dissolved minerals. On hot sunny days they habitually land on the arms, legs and backs of humans to imbibe sweat. For photographers this behaviour can be maddening, as no matter how many times you shoo the butterfly off and try to cajole it into settling on a natural substrate, it insists on returning immediately to land on your trousers, shoulder, boots or camera bag. Moreover the longer you spend trying to get a photograph the braver the butterfly becomes, and the more likely it is to glue itself to your back or the top of your head !

Callicore excelsior pastazza, Tingo Maria, Peru Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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