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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Square-spotted Ministreak
Ministrymon zilda  HEWITSON, 1873
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe - EUMAEINI
Ministrymon zilda female, Satipo, Peru Dave Griffiths
Introduction
Almost all neotropical Theclinae species are placed in the Eumaeini. The tribe is not particularly well represented in collections, so until fairly recently a high percentage remained unstudied, and were inappropriately filed away in the 'convenience' genus Thecla. Many taxonomists have attempted to rationalise the systematics of the Eumaeini, the most recent being Robbins who published a revision in 2004, reclassifying the taxa into 83 genera. Currently there are 1058 known species. Taking into account their small size, secretive behaviour, and the great similarities between many species, it is estimated that about another 200 species probably remain to be discovered.
The genus Ministrymon comprises of 23 known species, variously distributed from s.w. USA to Peru and Argentina. Males are dark brown on the upper surface of the wings, with a metallic blue sheen on the hindwings and around the basal area of the forewings. The ventral surfaced in most species is grey, with a broken staggered red streak on both wings. With the exceptions of cleon and azia all Ministrymon species also have additional black and/or red spots in the basal area of the hindwings, and a dark bar at the end of the discal cell of the forewings.
The genus name Ministrymon is derived from the Latin minimum - meaning 'small' or 'smaller', and from the name of the Greek river Strymon. It refers to the small size of the butterfly and the river-like 'hairstreak' line on the underside of many Eumaeini genera including Strymon, Hypostrymon, Phaeostrymon, Ministrymon, Chlorostrymon and Electrostrymon. In many species including such as cleon this streak is broken up to form a series of red spots.
Ministrymon zilda is the most widely distributed member of the genus, occurring from Mexico to Peru and southern Brazil.
Habitats
This species is found in rainforest and humid deciduous forest, at altitudes from sea level to about 800m. It tends to be encountered within the forest rather than in forest-edge habitats.
Lifecycle
To be completed.
Adult behaviour

Males can often be found settled on bushes or saplings at light gaps in the forest, or in areas where dappled sunlight filters through to the understorey. They are generally encountered singly.

 

 

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