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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Primrose Flag
Melete lycimnia  CRAMER, 1777
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - PIERINAE
Tribe - PIERINI
Melete lycimnia lycimnia  male, Pauti, Junin, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The Pieridae is divided into 3 subfamilies. The Dismorphiinae, with a small number of exceptions is entirely neotropical in distribution. The Coliadinae ( Sulphurs and Yellows ) and Pierinae ( Whites & Orange tips ) however have worldwide distribution.
There are 217 members of the Pierinae in the neotropical region. These include familiar Holarctic
( Eurasian and North American ) genera such as Pieris, Pontia and Anthocharis, and others such as Pereute, Catasticta and Melete which are found only in Central and South America.
The genus Melete contains 6 species, characterised by having a yellow spot at the base of the hind wing on the underside. The forewings of most species have a blackish apex, and often a dark bar at the end of the discal cell.
Melete lycimnia occurs in several geographical forms. On the underside, subspecies peruviana has a white ground colour, narrow black borders, and a yellow spot at the base of the hindwings. At the other extreme the nominate subspecies lycimnia has the underside hindwings primrose yellow, with broad blackish borders.
This species occurs from Texas to Bolivia.
Melete lycimnia lycimnia male, Satipo, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Habitats
This is a rainforest species, occurring at elevations between sea level and about 1000m.
Melete lycimnia lycimnia male, Satipo, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Lifecycle
Unknown, although the foodplant is reputed to be Loranthaceae.
Melete lycimnia lycimnia male, Satipo, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Adult behaviour

Males are a regular sight along forest edge habitats on the banks of rivers, and at roadsides, where they gather to imbibe mineral-laden moisture from sand or mud. They often congregate in dense clusters of 50 or more, packed very tightly together, and erupt nervously into flight if disturbed.

Females are not normally seen in such open situations, staying instead in the forest interior. They do not visit flowers in the understorey, or along forest roads, so presumably feed at the nectar of arboreal flowers. Their flight is direct and fairly rapid, interrupted by long periods at rest on foliage in the sub canopy.

Melete lycimnia peruviana male, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru  Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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