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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Corinna Daggerwing
Marpesia corinna  LATREILLE, 1813
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - CYRESTINAE
Tribe - CYRESTINI
Marpesia corinna, Otun-Quimbaya, Colombia  Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The genus Marpesia is confined largely to the neotropical region, but is closely allied to the Mapwing and Maplet butterflies ( Cyrestis & Chersonesia ) of the Oriental region.
Daggerwings are similar in wing shape to Swordtails and Swallowtails ( Papilionidae ), but the latter have 6 legs whereas Marpesia and all other Nymphalidae genera have only 4 legs. Another feature to look for is the antennae. In all Papilionids these are recurved at the tip, but in Marpesia they are straight. In total there are 17 Marpesia species, all with the same wing shape as zerynthia, except for petreus which has 2 tails on each hindwing and a deeply scalloped outer margin to it's forewing.
Males of Marpesia corinna can easily be confused with corita or marcella, both of which have similar uppersides. The orange bands however are narrower in corinna, and only extend slightly onto the hind-wings. The females are dark brown with white bands on the forewings of marcella and corinna, and orange bands on the forewings of corita.
The underside of Marpesia corinna is pale orange with narrow linear white stripes, while marcella is similar but has much broader stripes. Both are quite different from corita which has a pinkish-brown ground colour marbled and scalloped with purplish on the outer half of the wings, and marked with irregular white stripes in the basal area.
Marpesia corinna occurs in the eastern Andes from Colombia to Peru.
Habitats
This species appears to be confined to cloudforests and transitional rainforest / cloudforest zones in the eastern Andes, at altitudes between about 400-1800m.
Lifecycle
I have no data relating to corinna, but the following characteristics are applicable in general to the genus Marpesia : The eggs are white or yellowish, and laid singly on the foliage of trees and shrubs in the family Moraceae - including Ficus, Chlorophora, Brosimum and Artocarpus. The fully grown caterpillars are very colourful, typically marked with red and / or yellow spots and stripes. There is a single row of unbranched, recurved spines along the back, and the head is adorned with a pair of very long wavy spines. They feed diurnally and rest on the upper surface of leaves. The pupae are typically pale in colour, marked with blackish spots or blotches, and have wiry filaments projecting from the back of the abdomen and from the head.
Marpesia corinna, male, Satipo, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Adult behaviour

This species is usually encountered as small groups of up to about 6 males, visiting wet sand or mud to imbibe mineral-laden moisture. They are often found near small streams, waterfalls or fords. The butterflies tend to feed with their wings held half-open, but in cooler conditions they will sometimes bask with wings fully outspread. If disturbed they fly up and settle on nearby bushes at a height of about 2-3 metres, where they bask for several minutes until they feel safe enough to return to the ground. Females are seen less often, usually when visiting Eupatorium flowers in forest clearings.

 

 

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