Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Nero Grass Skipper
Family - HESPERIIDAE
There are at least 1038 known species of Grass Skippers (
Hesperiinae ) found in the neotropical region, many of which are
virtually impossible to identify from photographs. A great many of
them are dark brown in colour, and virtually devoid of recognisable
markings. Often, any markings which are present are obscure, and it
can be guaranteed that there will be several dozen near identical
species which can only be told apart by killing them and
microscopically examining the venation and genitalia. Because of
these obstacles to identification most lepidopterists ignore these
insects, but in even
the most obscure species there are usually a few clues that can
provide pointers and enable a positive identification to be made :
the case of the illustrated species there are several similar
butterflies in various genera but only nero
has this particular configuration of hyaline spots. In combination
with other features such as the dark suffusion in the disco-cellular
region of the forewings and the clearly defined dark apex, the
butterfly can be distinguished from it's similar looking cousins.
There are 16 species in
the genus Cobalopsis, variously found
from Mexico to Argentina.
Data from museum
specimens indicates that Cobalopsis nero
occurs from southern Mexico to Peru.
The illustrated specimen was seen in an area of disturbed primary
rainforest at an altitude of about 200m. I do not have any further
information regarding it's elevational range, but it is reasonable
to surmise that is occurs from sea-level to at least 400m.
Rio Pindayo, Peru
© Adrian Hoskins
observations other than that the butterfly was observed at a light gap
in an area of disturbed forest.