Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - BIBLIDINAE
Tribe - CALLICORINI
male, Satipo, Peru
© Adrian Hoskins
genus Diaethria is confined to Central
and South America - 3 species are found in Mexico while the
remainder are widely distributed across the Amazon and Andes.
uppersides of all Diaethria species are
black, marked on the forewings with a diagonal band of metallic blue
or green. In some species this colour is repeated on the hindwings
in the form of a submarginal band.
The 89 or 88
numerals which appear on the underside hindwings of
euclides are present in all 12 of the
Diaethria species but vary in colour, thickness and shape. In
clymena for example the lines are quite
thick, and the markings often form an '88' figure, while in others
such as neglecta and
euclides they are thin and form an
occurs from Panama to Bolivia.
male, Manu cloudforest, 900m, Peru
© Adrian Hoskins
This species occurs at elevations between about 200-1700m, in
rainforest and cloudforest habitats where the larval foodplant
Trema ( Ulmaceae ) grows.
The eggs in common with those of other
Diaethria species are whitish and highly sculptured. They are
laid singly on the underside of leaves of
Trema ( Ulmaceae ), close to the midrib.
larva is green, with a slightly roughened texture, and bears a pair
of short spikes on the anal segment. The head bears a pair of very
long whorled spines. The larva habitually rests on the upper surface
of a leaf, with the thoracic segments raised and the head appressed
to the substrate, causing the spines to project upward. If molested
the larva twitches violently, swinging it's head defensively from
side to side to scare away predators or parasitoids. The chrysalis
is suspended by the cremaster from a leaf or stem. It is green, with
a dorsal keel, and projecting palpi.
Satipo, Peru ©
Both sexes are attracted to rotting
fruit. The males are strongly attracted to urine-soaked sand, and also
imbibe dissolved minerals from damp soil, road surfaces and rock
faces. They are very active butterflies, easily disturbed, and rarely
settle for more than a few seconds at a time in one spot, but they
will return repeatedly to the same patch of ground.
are usually seen in two's or three's, but sometimes congregate in
large numbers at favoured spots. They are commonly found in the
vicinity of human habitations, e.g. on river banks close to jetties,
at places where laundry is washed, at ash covered ground at the site
of campfires, and at urine-tainted patches of bare ground.
not feeding, males perch on the upper surface of leaves at a height of
about 2-3m, awaiting passing females. They also commonly perch facing
head-downwards, on walls or tree trunks.
Just before sunset, males often bask with
wings almost fully outspread, on the foliage of trees and bushes,
before eventually retiring beneath a leaf where they spend the night,
protected from rain.