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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Elissa Page
Metamorpha elissa  HÜBNER, 1819
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - NYMPHALINAE
Tribe - VICTORINIINI
Metamorpha elissa elissa, Satipo, Peru © Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The Kallimini includes the African Precis ( Pansies ) and Salamis ( Mother of Pearl butterflies ) and the Asian Kallima ( Dead Leaf butterflies ). In the neotropics the tribe is represented by the genera Anartia, Junonia, Hypolimnas, Metamorpha, Napeocles and Siproeta. 
The genus Metamorpha comprises a single species elissa. It's closest relative is Siproeta stelenes. 
Metamorpha elissa is distributed from Panama to Bolivia.
Metamorpha elissa elissa, Satipo, Peru © Adrian Hoskins
Habitats
This species is found in a wide variety of habitats including lowland rainforest, deciduous forest and cloudforest up to an elevation of about 1200m.
Lifecycle
I have no information regarding elissa but the lifecycle is probably very similar to that of the closely related genus Siproeta, whose eggs are green and laid singly on young leaves of Acanthaceae. The fully grown larvae of Siproeta re dark, spiny, and have knobbed horns on the head, while the pupae are pale green, elongate, flecked with black spots, and adorned with golden spikes.
Adult behaviour

The butterflies are usually encountered singly, and seen flying in open sunlit areas. In Ecuador I have observed adults nectaring at Lantana and other flowers in gardens and forest glades. 

In mid-afternoon males sometimes imbibe mineralised moisture from wet sand. At such times they are extremely wary and difficult to approach - the individual depicted at the top of this page spent most of a hot sunny August afternoon darting from place to place, never settling for more than a second or two in one spot. Females on the other hand are much more placid and will often bask on bushes for several minutes at a time between egg-laying bouts.

Metamorpha elissa elissa, Rio Shima, Satipo, Peru © Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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