Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Godart's Blue Ringlet
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
subtribe - EUPTYCHIINA
herseis, Catarata de Tirol, La Merced, Peru
© Adrian Hoskins
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
Magneuptychia, Harjesia etc;
together with Oressinoma and the
various "wood nymph" genera i.e. Parataygetis,
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.
recently almost all of the "ringlets" were placed in the genus
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
The 12 Chloreuptychia
species are characterised by having ovoid forewings, a subtle blue
sheen on the underside, and a pair of elongated silvery ocelli
within the series of eyespots on the underside hindwings.
occurs east of the Andes from Surinam and Guyana, south to Peru and
east across Brazil to Rio de Janeiro.
This species is confined to rainforest habitats at altitudes between
I have no data regarding
herseis, but it is reasonable to assume that the lifecycle is
similar to that of Chloreuptychia arnaca,
which is described below :
The egg is globular, shining white in colour, and
laid singly on grasses. Chloreuptychia arnaca
lays on Eleusine,
Oplismenus and Ichnanthus
( Poaceae )
where it grows around the base of trees.
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 Satyrines, the larvae
feed nocturnally. The pupa of arnaca is
mottled in shades of brown. Chloreuptychia
pupae are typically wedge-shaped, and are formed attached by the
cremaster to a stem, projecting horizontally.
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
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.