Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
subtribe - EUPTYCHIINA
Rio Claro, Colombia
© Adrian Hoskins
There are 1100 known species of Satyrinae in the neotropical region.
About 400 of these are placed in the Euptychiina. Butterflies within
this tribe include the 'ringlet' genera
Harjesia etc; together with Oressinoma
and the various 'wood nymph' genera i.e.
Parataygetis, Posttaygetis and
Taygetis. Most are inhabitants of the
forest understorey and tend to fly close to the ground. They
generally avoid sunlight and prefer to fly at dawn or on cloudy days
when light levels and temperatures are low.
recently almost all of the 'ringlets' were placed in the genus
Euptychia, but revisions by Forster and
Lamas divide this convenience genus into a number of smaller genera,
on the basis of anatomical differences and larval foodplants.
There are 40
known species in the genus Magneuptychia
including 11 recently described by Lamas but as yet unnamed. The
butterflies are slightly larger than most other ringlets and
typically have a grey ground colour overlaid with a bluish sheen.
The bands on the underside are always narrow, well defined and
reddish in colour. The ocelli on the hindwings are prominent and the
2 largest ones each contain a pair of tiny white dots.
is distributed from Mexico to Bolivia.
Magneuptychia libye Rio
Claro, Colombia © Adrian
occurs in rainforest and cloudforest at elevations between about
The egg is round
and laid singly on or near the foodplants. The larva when fully
grown is pale brown with darker and paler lines and striations along
the back and sides. The head bears a pair of short conical horns. It
feeds nocturnally on the grass Panicum
( Poaceae ) and rests during daylight at the base of the plant. The
chrysalis is back with a hint of pink along the abdomen.
Tatama NP, Colombia
© Adrian Hoskins
The butterflies inhabit the understorey, and are usually only seen
along the darker and narrower trails. They don't visit flowers but
feed instead at decomposing fungi and bird droppings. Most of the time
they sit motionless on leaves in the shade, and if disturbed they
generally fly a distance of no more than 3 or 4 metres, and then
It is likely that the wings reflect high levels of ultra-violet,
enabling the butterflies to locate potential mates visually in the
dark environment where they breed. The vertical lines on the underside
are an example of disruptive colouration. They help break up the
outline of the wings into separate shapes, making it more difficult
for a bird to detect the butterfly. If however a bird succeeds in
discovering where it has settled, the butterfly has a secondary
defence in the form of the ocelli on the underside hindwings. These
function to divert attacks away from the butterfly's vulnerable body,
allowing it to escape with nothing worse than a pecked wing.