Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - HESPERIIDAE
tribe - PYRRHOPYGINI
Chalypyge zereda rufipectus,
Otun-Quimbaya, Colombia ©
subfamily Pyrrhopyginae comprises 163 known species, most of which
are found only in the tropical rainforests and cloudforests of South
America, although a few reach as far north as Mexico, and a single
reaches Arizona. They
are characterised by having bodies which are very large in
proportion to the wings. Other characteristics include a massive
muscular thorax, compressed abdominal segments, prominent eyes, and
antennae with recurved clubs.
Several genera, including
Jemadia and Elbella have a
pattern of hyaline 'windows' on the forewings, and are marked with
stripes and bands of brilliant blue and white. Other genera such as
and Pyrrhopyge lack the hyaline
windows, and are characterised instead by having bright pink or red
markings on the head and/or on the tip of the abdomen.
There are only 2 species in the genus
zereda and chalybea. Neither
have hyaline windows on their wings or red markings on the head or
abdomen. The wings of both species are metallic steely blue, with
orange edging to the hindwings. In chalybea,
which is confined to Central America, there is also a narrow orange
border on the forewings.
occurs in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. There are 6 named subspecies
of which rufipectus and
hygieia are found in Colombia.
This species occurs in cloudforest at elevations between about
Males are usually seen when discovered on the ground imbibing
mineralised water from wet rocks, or at
damp patches of
ground. They are more commonly seen in cloudy weather.