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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Cramer's Midget
Charis anius  CRAMER, 1776
Family - RIODINIDAE
subfamily - RIODININAE
Tribe - RIODININI
Charis anius, Tingo Maria, Peru Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
Among the neotropical Riodinidae is a group of genera - Chalodeta, Detritivora, Calephelis, Charis and Dachetola which are characterised by having an orange or brown submarginal band containing a series of black dots, bordered either side by metallic silver lines. The males of most species in this group have a blackish or dark brown ground colour. The females are usually larger, and their slightly paler wings tend to have more convex outer margins. In most of these species both sexes have a distinctive pattern of dark spots that shows on both wing surfaces, although in a few the upperside ground colour is so dark that the spots are undetectable.
Distinguishing the species is often difficult, and it can be problematic even deciding which genus a particular butterfly belongs to. Many species have in fact been transferred from one genus into another as taxonomists discover more about their biology. It is interesting to note that 2 Colombian species amusingly named Charis ma and Charis matic ( honestly ! ) by Harvey & Hall in 2002 have now been renamed less flatteringly as Detritivora ma and Detritivora matic. The latter genus name refers to the fact that the larvae feed on detritus ( decaying leaf matter ) on the forest floor.
The genus Charis contains 2 species - cadytis which is largely confined to Brazil, and anius which is distributed from Venezuela to Peru.
Charis anius ( sometimes incorrectly spelt auius ) can easily be distinguished from all other similar species by examining the underside wings, which in the male has a deep blue metallic sheen and in the female is dull grey.
Charis anius male, Satipo, Peru Adrian Hoskins
Habitats
This species is found in primary and secondary rainforest on both sides of the Andes, at altitudes between sea level and about 1000 metres. It inhabits the forest understorey and like others in this group of genera is commonly seen in light gaps in the forest, but can also be found in forest edge habitats and glades.
Lifecycle
The eggs are white and lozenge shaped. They are laid singly on dead decaying leaves on the forest floor. There seems to be no preference for plants of any particular genus or family. The larvae are densely hairy.
Charis anius ( female on right ), Satipo, Peru Adrian Hoskins
Adult behaviour

Both sexes commonly bask on the upperside of the leaves of bushes and saplings, and are usually encountered in two's and three's in light gaps along forest trails. Unlike many other metalmarks the males are not normally observed mud-puddling. Both sexes commonly nectar at herbaceous wild flowers growing in glades, along riverbanks, or by roadsides in forested areas.

Charis anius  male, Satipo, Peru Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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