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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Ruddy Leafwing
Fountainea halice  GODART, 1824
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - CHARAXINAE
Tribe - ANAEINI

Fountainea halice, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The tribe Anaeini comprises of 87 neotropical species in the genera Coenophlebia, Consul, Anaea, Polygrapha, Memphis, Siderone, Fountainea and Zaretis. The butterflies are characterised by having a very rapid and strong flight. They have stout bodies, falcate wings, and on the upper surface are generally black, marked with bands of orange, bright red, or lustrous blue according to species. The undersides of all species in the Anaeini are cryptically patterned and bear a strong resemblance to the dead leaves, tree bark or boulders on which they settle.
The genus Fountainea comprises of 8 species, most of which are widely distributed throughout the neotropical region. The hindwings of most species have short tails, in both sexes, although in the males of ryphea and sosippus these are vestigial or absent.
The upperside of Fountainea halice is bright orange-red, with dark markings at the apex.
This species is found throughout lowland areas from Mexico to Bolivia.

Fountainea halice, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru Adrian Hoskins
Habitats
This species breeds in lowland primary and secondary rainforest, and in moist deciduous forests at altitudes between sea level and about 800m.
Lifecycle
The eggs are white, and laid singly on the foliage of the foodplants.
The fully grown larva is green, with paler longitudinal lines along the back, and lightly marbled with reddish brown and white along the sides. It has a large head that is adorned with a pair of short horns. The larva lives within a cell made by rolling up a leaf and securing it with fine silk. It feeds on saplings of Croton - a tree in the Euphorbiaceae.
The chrysalis is suspended by the cremaster from a stem or leaf.  It is pale greenish, with the wing cases edged in pale yellow. The head and thorax form a barrel shaped section, and the abdominal segments are highly compressed, forming a short cone.
Adult behaviour

The butterflies are usually seen singly, typically as the sole Fountainea species amongst a mixed group of Memphis, Doxocopa and Taygetis species that have aggregated to feed at dung or rotting fruit on the forest floor. Males also visit sewage seepages and damp sandbanks to imbibe mineralised water.

The flight and general behaviour is similar to that of other Charaxine genera. They tend to remain settled either on foliage or on the ground for quite long periods. If disturbed they fly up, circle around briefly, and then settle on the foliage of a nearby tree. After a few minutes, when they feel safe, they descend in a series of steps, often settling in dappled sunlight, and at such times they often bask with wings half open. Eventually they return to ground level, flitting about and fanning their wings for a while before closing them.

 

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