Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
Tribe - ERYNNINI
Helias cama, Rio Claro, Colombia
© Adrian Hoskins
Pyrginae, popularly known as Flats or Spreadwings, are a
cosmopolitan subfamily distributed across temperate and tropical
habitats throughout the world. In the Americas there are 990
The three genera
Camptopleura and Helias are
collectively known as 'bent-skippers' because of the way the
butterflies rest and bask with the forewings bent so that the apex
is folded down. Another characteristic they all have in common is
the metallic sheen on the wings.
The genus Helias
comprises of 3 known species, all very similar in appearance, and
confined to the neotropical region. They are small butterflies
averaging about 4 cms in wingspan.
is distributed from Mexico to Colombia.
This is a forest edge species, found at elevations between sea level
and about 600m.
occasionally visit damp patches to imbibe mineralised moisture but are
more comonly observed basking or resting on the foliage of bushes or
herbaceous plants. They habitually rest with wings outspread, and with
the apex of each forewing folded down. They have a rapid flight,
zig-zagging and flying about in tight circles, and often go on short
sorties before returning to their original perching places, suggesting
that they may be territorial, and using the perches as lookouts from
which they survey passing females.