Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - RIODINIDAE
Tribe - EUSELASIINI
Euselasia bettina, Tatama NP, Colombia
© Adrian Hoskins
Euselasiinae is confined entirely to the neotropics. There are 172
known species of which 167 are placed in the genus
Euselasia. A few are widespread across
Amazonia but most are localised and uncommon. The adults are
characterised by having large eyes and small palpi. Most species
have rounded wings. The uppersides of males are blackish with
patches of metallic orange or blue according to species. Females are
dull brown above, with patches of whitish or pale brown.
undersides are variable - in some species such as
and brevicauda they are pinkish or dull
brown, marked with a thin dark median line. Others e.g.
praeclara are silvery white, marked with feint dark spots.
Another group including euriteus,
orfita are much more strongly marked, with broad white bands
on a brown or orange ground colour. Most of the species in this
latter group also have a prominent dark spot or ocellus on the outer
Euselasia bettina is distributed from
Nicaragua to Ecuador.
This butterfly inhabits cloudforest at elevations between about
I have no
information regarding bettina. The
lifecycle however is probably similar to that of other
Euselasia species : The eggs are
frustum-shaped. They are laid singly under leaves of Clusiaceae,
Melastomataceae, Sapotaceae or Myrtaceae. The caterpillars are
compact in form and covered in tufts of short setae. In several
species they are gregarious and move in a processionary manner.
Unlike members of the Riodininae the larvae of Euselasiinae are not
associated with ants.
Euselasia males are noted for their habit of spending most of
their lives hiding under leaves. Some species such as
angulata tend to sit under the leaves of low vegetation, while
others such as euriteus and
bettina tend to settle higher up, under
the leaves of trees at heights of between 2-5 metres. Often males of
several Euselasia species will occupy a
particular tree but each species will settle at a different height and
fly at a different time of the morning.
Although they may appear
to be hiding, they are in fact 'perching' i.e. waiting to ambush any
other Euselasia that flies past. If the
ambushed butterfly turns out to be another male a short aerial battle
takes place after which the intruding male is usually ousted, and the
conquering male returns to sit beneath the leaf where he originally
perched. Perching males hold their wings erect, but often with the
hindwings very slightly apart.
The flight is rapid and
erratic. Males are active early in the day, but females fly and
oviposit in the afternoon. Both sexes visit flowers and extrafloral
nectaries. The butterflies fly throughout the year but are commonest
in the late dry season and during drier periods in the rainy season.