Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Metamorpha elissa HÜBNER,
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - VICTORINIINI
Metamorpha elissa elissa,
Satipo, Peru ©
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
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.
elissa, Satipo, Peru ©
This species is found in a wide variety of habitats including
lowland rainforest, deciduous forest and cloudforest up to an
elevation of about 1200m.
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.
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.
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.
elissa elissa, Rio
Shima, Satipo, Peru ©