Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - APATURINAE
Alta Floresta, Mato Grosso, Brazil
© Miguel Antonio-Silva-Stefanelli
There are 15
Doxocopa species. They can be loosely divided into 2 groups.
The lavinia group are all sexually
dimorphic. Their males all closely resemble the current species,
while their females are all Adelpha-like.
The felderi group are also sexually
dimorphic. Their males are predominantly purple above. Females of
this group strongly resemble Perisama
on the upperside, with turquoise diagonal bands on the forewing, and
similarly coloured submarginal bands on the hindwing.
Males of lavinia
are marked on the upperside with a band of white scales. Each scale
has a ridged surface that refracts and reflects light in iridescent
hues of blue, green and violet. The intensity of these colours when
the butterfly is seen in full sunlight almost defies description.
Females lack any iridescence - they resemble
Adelpha species, but have more angular forewings. In both
sexes the orange markings are greatly reduced in some geographical
distributed from Colombia to Peru and Brazil.
Satipo, Peru ©
The butterfly breeds in rainforest habitats at altitudes from sea
level to about 1600m.
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
head. The chrysalis 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 strongly
territorial, perching on high foliage, and periodically swooping down
with great speed and agility to investigate rotting fruit, dung or
carrion on the ground.
They are solitary and of
nervous disposition, but after a few minutes will usually accept human
presence. They are most often seen when visiting wet muddy patches, or
the edges of small streams where they ford dirt roads. Sightings of
females are very rare, as they spend their time high in the forest