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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Pantiacolla Blue Ringlet
Cepheuptychia sp.nov  LAMAS [ MS ]
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
subtribe - EUPTYCHIINA

Cepheuptychia sp.nov, Pantiacolla, Rio Alto Madre de Dios, Peru Adrian Hoskins
Introduction

This species was discovered by Lamas. It was seen by myself in 2008 at Pantiacolla and appears to be relatively common there. It is similar to Caeruleuptychia tenera and aegrota, but differs in having 6 ocelli instead of 5 on the underside hindwings, 3 of these being twin-centred. There are also differences in the upperside markings. The species has not yet been given a name, and is referred to in the Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera as Cepheuptychia [ n.sp ], ref 101/1230.

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.
There are 5 known species of Cepheuptychia.
This species appears to be confined to south-east Peru.
Habitats
The butterfly occurs in tropical rainforest at elevations between about 300-700m. I have recorded and photographed it on 2 occasions near a stream which runs to the Rio Alto Madre de Dios.
Lifecycle
I have no data regarding any Cepheuptychia species, but it is likely that the lifecycle will 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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