Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe - EUMAEINI
Contrafacia imma, male, Imataca, Venezuela
© Adrian Hoskins
Almost all neotropical Theclinae species are placed in the Eumaeini.
The tribe is not particularly well represented in collections, so
until fairly recently a high percentage remained unstudied, and were
inappropriately filed away in the 'convenience' genus
Thecla. Many taxonomists have attempted
to rationalise the systematics of the Eumaeini, the most recent
being Robbins who published a revision in 2004, reclassifying the
taxa into 83 genera. Currently there are 1058 known species. Taking
into account their small size, secretive behaviour, and the great
similarities between many species, it is estimated that about
another 200 species probably remain to be discovered.
The genus Contrafacia
was erected by Johnson in 1989 to accommodate a set of 7 species
which, in contrast with most other Eumaeines, lack androconia on the
male forewings. The species name imma
pre-dates orcynia and various other
occurs from Mexico to Paraguay and Argentina.
This species occurs in rainforest and cloudforest habitats up to an
elevation of about 1800m.
is the case with almost all Eumaeini.
all Hairstreaks this is a
highly seasonal species, being very common in the late dry season, but
decidedly scarce at other times of year.
The butterfly is invariably encountered singly, and usually sighted in
flight when it is seen as a tiny flash of brilliant blue against the
dark background of the forest understorey. The rapid
erratic flight is
difficult to follow with the eye.
The butterflies settle on
foliage to imbibe honey dew, and less frequently on leaf litter on the