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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Dashwing
Historis acheronta  FABRICIUS, 1775
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - NYMPHALINAE
Tribe - COEINI
Historis acheronta, male, Rio Pindayo, Peru Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
This is one of 12 species in the tribe Coeini, which also includes Baeotus, Colobura, Tigridia, Pycina and Smyrna.
There are only 2 species in the genus Historis, the other being odius - a larger, more robust species which is generally much commoner than acheronta.
Historis acheronta is a very widely distributed species, found from Guatemala to Bolivia.
Habitats
This species, like it's relative odius occurs in a wide variety of forested habitats, from the deciduous woodlands of Guatemala, to the wet rainforests of the Amazon basin and premontane cloudforests of the Andes. It occurs at altitudes between sea level and about 1000m.
Lifecycle
The lifecycle is unknown but is probably very similar to that of Historis odius as follows :
The egg is pale brown and laid singly on the midrib of a leaf of Cecropia ( Moraceae ). When small the larva constructs a chain of droppings along the midrib. The larva rests at the end of this frass-chain, which extends beyond the tip of a leaf. The chain seems to act as a tight-rope over which ants will not walk. It thus prevents the larva from being molested. It probably also deters parasitoid wasps and flies, making it difficult for them to oviposit on the larva. The fully grown larva is brown with yellow bands around the segments, which are adorned with yellowish whorled spines. Another pair of short whorled spines emerges from the head. The chrysalis is adorned with whorled spines in the abdominal segments. It bears a pair of horns on the head which are recurved and appressed to the thorax.
Adult behaviour

This species is usually encountered singly, in forest clearings.

Both sexes visit fermenting fruit, preferring fruits that have not yet fallen from the trees. Males are also attracted to sources of minerals, particularly urine tainted ground. When settled the wings are held erect.

 

 

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