Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
FELDER & FELDER,
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - APATURINAE
Catarata Bayoz, Le Merced, Peru
© Adrian Hoskins
Doxocopa comprises of 15 species found
variously from Mexico to Bolivia and Paraguay. The butterflies are
closely related to the Apatura Purple
Emperors of Europe and temperate Asia, and have similar habits.
Males of this medium sized
insect reflect a purple sheen from the upperside wings, but this
tends to be of a less intense hue than in most other
Doxocopa species, and is only visible
when the sunlight reflects at particular angles from the surface of
the wings. Females lack the iridescence, and have broader orange
bands on the forewings.
Doxocopa elis is found on the eastern
slopes of the Andes, from Colombia to Bolivia.
The butterfly breeds in rainforest habitats at altitudes from
The caterpillar feeds on Celtis species
( Ulmaceae ). When fully grown it is green, strongly tapered towards
the anal segment, and has a pair of forward-projecting horns on its
pupa is probably similar to that of other Apaturines, which are
typically flattened laterally, arched dorsally, and superbly
camouflaged as living or dead foliage.
Males are scarcer than
and pavon, but can sometimes be seen
basking on bare ground, where they settle to imbibe mineralised
moisture. They extract sodium and other minerals from the moisture,
chemically convert it, and pass it to females during copulation.
Females do not imbibe minerals.
They are not known to visit flowers. It is possible that they obtain
their sustenance entirely from chemicals passed to them via the
spermatophore by males. They may however also obtain nutrients from
aphid secretions on tree foliage, or from sap oozing from damaged tree