Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
Tribe - PYRGINI
Milanion pilumnus pilumnus, Satipo, Peru ©
Pyrginae, popularly known as Flats or Spreadwings, are a
cosmopolitan subfamily distributed across temperate and tropical
habitats throughout the world. In the Americas there are 990
species, of which about 580
are placed in the tribe Pyrgini.
The genus Milanion
contains 7 known species, all with a similar pattern of hyaline
spots on the forewing, and a broad white band traversing the
hindwings and abdomen. Many of the species are quite difficult to
tell apart, and matters are made more complicated because there are
several subspecies and regional forms.
Milanion pilumnus is
probably the most widespread species, found from Panama to Bolivia.
This species occurs in forested habitats at elevations between about
200-1000m. It is usually seen along the narrower forest tracks,
where dappled sunlight filters down through the canopy.
The lifecycle appears to be unrecorded. Generally, Pyrgine
butterflies lay their eggs singly on either the upperside or
underside of leaves. The larvae are typically dull green or
brownish, with thin longitudinal lines along the back and sides, and
with black shiny heads. They feed typically on herbaceous plants,
but a small percentage feed on the leaves of bushes or trees. The
pupae are usually dark and smooth, with the wing cases in a
contrasting tone or colour. They are normally formed within silken
tents formed by spinning together the leaves of the foodplant.
are usually seen singly basking on low herbage, with wings outspread.
They commonly feed at bird droppings.