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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Amazon Blue Cracker
Hamadryas chle  STOLL, 1787 
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - BIBLIDINAE
Tribe - AGERONIINI
subtribe - AGERONIINA
Hamadryas chle, Rio Shima, Satipo, Peru Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
There are 20 members of the genus Hamadryas. Most are found only in Central and South America, although 8 have been recorded sporadically in the southern USA.
The butterflies are commonly known as Crackers due to the ability of the males of several species to produce a sound similar to the crackling of bacon in a frying pan. The sound is produced as the butterflies take off, and is made by twanging a pair of spiny rods at the tip of the abdomen against bristles on the anal claspers. Only males can produce the sound, but both sexes can detect it - their wings have tiny hollow cells covered in membranes that vibrate in response to sound, and stimulate nerve endings. The purpose of the sound is not known. It may possibly deter competing males from occupying the same territory, or could act as a trigger to initiate the first response from a female during courtship.
All Hamadryas species have a beautiful calico pattern on the upperside. In many there is a series of submarginal ocelli on the hindwings, and distinct kidney-shaped stigmata in the discal cells of fore and hind wings. In several species such as februa and glauconome the ground colour is greyish and the pattern acts as an extremely effective camouflage against the bark of trees. In others such as amphinome, laodamia and velutina the wings are velvety black with a blue sheen and a pattern of bright blue spots.
Photographing Hamadryas can be a frustrating experience, as both sexes spend most of their time basking high up on tree trunks, often 10 metres or more above the ground. They sit there for hours  with wings outspread, always facing downwards to keep a watchful eye for potential mates. At times they descend and bask much lower down, at a height of just a couple of metres, but at the slightest disturbance they immediately fly back to the tree top. They remain there until the intruder has left the vicinity, and then descend the tree trunk in a series of short hopping flights, dropping a short distance each time until after half an hour or so they have resumed their original position.
Hamadryas chle is distributed from Colombia to Bolivia.
Habitats
This species is typically found in disturbed primary rainforest at altitudes between sea level and about 1000 metres. It is usually encountered at light gaps, or at the edge of glades.
Lifecycle
I cannot find any published information regarding the lifecycle of chle but it is likely to be similar to that of other Hamadryas species, which lay their eggs in chains of up to a dozen, hanging from the underside of leaves. Hamadryas larvae are typically dark in colour, covered in short multi-branched spines, with longer spines on segments 3 & 10. The head also typically bears a pair of long slightly recurved horns or spines. All Hamadryas larvae feed on Dalechampia vines ( Euphorbiaceae ).
Adult behaviour

Hamadryas chloe is often seen basking on tree trunks, adopting a head-downward posture with the wings flattened against the bark. Males will bask in this position for long periods to await potential mates. They commonly settle at a height of about 2m but if disturbed immediately take flight. After a few seconds they resettle, usually higher up on the same tree trunk. There they remain until the threat passes, after which they descend the trunk in a series of short flights, dropping lower each time until after several minutes they resume their original position. I have also seen males basking on the foliage of banana and plantain. They also visit damp ground to obtain mineralised moisture.

Hamadryas chle, Rio Shima, Satipo, Peru Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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