Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - MELITAEINI
subtribe - PHYCIODINA
Tatama NP, Colombia
© Adrian Hoskins
The tribe Melitaeini
is of worldwide distribution. It includes the Crescents and
Checkerspots of North America, and also many familiar European
species such as the Marsh, Spotted and Heath Fritillaries.
related to Castalia,
Janatella, in fact that these genera can only be
distinguished by microscopic examination of the male genitalia.
Eresia species fall into 2 distinct
groups. Some e.g. nauplius are black
with bands or patches of white. Most however are strongly marked in
black and orange, and regarded as Batesian mimics of toxic
distributed from Nicaragua to Ecuador. There are 8 subspecies, all
of which are mimics of various toxic Ithomiines. The illustrated
race poecilina which is found from
Costa Rica to Colombia is a mimic of Tithorea
This species is found in cloudforests at elevations between about
The eggs are cream coloured, and laid in batches of up to 70 beneath
leaves of Pilea ( Urticaceae ). The
larva is dark green with orange spikes and white dots along the
back. The head and legs are orange. Its pupa is olive-brown, shiny,
and suspended by the cremaster from stems.
The butterflies have a
slow fluttery flight. They are usually only encountered in sunny
conditions, and can be seen as singletons flying along roadsides or
other forest-edge habitats. Males are often seen imbibing mineralised
moisture from damp sand or rocks.