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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Zelphanta Numberwing
Callicore hystaspes  FABRICIUS, 1781
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - BIBLIDINAE
Tribe - CALLICORINI

Callicore hystaspes zelphanta, Rio Pindayo, 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.
In hystaspes the upperside forewings of the male are black, with a broad red diagonal swathe, and a cream crescent at the apex. The basal area of the forewings, and the outer third of the hindwings are both metallic blue. The female is similar but paler in colour, and has more rounded wings.
This species is found in the upper Amazonian regions of Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. The Peruvian sub-species is known as zelphanta.
Habitats
Tropical rainforest at altitudes between circa 200-800m. In common with other members of the genus, this species is frequently found close to habitations.
Lifecycle
I have no information specific to hystaspes. In most Callicore species the eggs are white, and are laid singly on Serjania, Allophylus or other Sapindaceae.
Adult behaviour

Males often visit sandbanks to imbibe dissolved minerals from urine-soaked ground, and can often be seen in one's and two's on river sandbanks or in the vicinity of habitations in forested areas.

 

 

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