Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Malta Groundstreak
Calycopis malta
subfamily - THECLINAE
Calycopis malta, Mariposa, Satipo, Peru 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.
The genus Calycopis comprises of 72 species, variously distributed from Mexico to Paraguay. The males of most species have metallic blue uppersides, while the females in most cases tend to be a dull earthy brown colour. Both sexes of all Calycopis species and have convex outer margins to the forewings. The undersides bear a dark post median line, and usually a short vertical line at the end of the discal cells. The hindwings have a distinctively shaped wiggly "hairstreak" post-median line, and either one or two black-centred red spots at the tornus. The hindwings also bear 3 short white-tipped tails. Many species can be identified easily by studying the differences in the size, shape and position of the red markings, but there are many others that can only reliably be distinguished from one another by examining the genitalia microscopically.
Calycopis malta is found throughout most of the eastern Andes and the Amazon basin.
This species is found in primary and secondary rainforest at altitudes between 0-1200m.
The eggs are laid on dead leaf litter on the forest floor. The larvae have been found resting on the upper surface of dead leaves. It is believed that they feed on decaying leaf matter, or on lichens, algae or moulds on the leaves.
Adult behaviour

The butterflies probably spend most of their lives at or near ground level, and are thus popularly known as Groundstreaks ( the "streak" part referring to the thin lines on the underside ). They seem to obtain all their sustenance from moisture imbibed from the ground, or from the surface of leaves.



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