Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - HESPERIIDAE
tribe - PYRRHOPYGINI
Rio Cristalino, Brazil
© Andrew Neild
subfamily Pyrrhopyginae comprises 163 known species, most of which
are found only in the tropical rainforests and cloudforests of South
America, although a few reach as far north as Mexico, and a single
reaches Arizona. They
are characterised by having bodies which are very large in
proportion to the wings. Other characteristics include a massive
muscular thorax, compressed abdominal segments, prominent eyes, and
antennae with recurved clubs.
There are 17 genera, including Jemadia
and Elbella, which have hyaline
'windows' on the forewings. Other genera include
Pyrrhopyge which comprises of 38
species, most of which have black wings, red heads, and red tipped
Mysarbia comprises a single species -
sejanus. It was for many years known as
Mysoria thasus but was reclassified in 2002 by Mielke. True
Mysoria species can easily be
recognised by the narrow crimson or orange edge to the costa of the
Mysarbia are sometimes also confused
with Pyrrhopygopsis ( Hesperiinae ).
The latter however do not have creamy white patches on the lateral
thorax, or pink lateral dots on the abdomen.
is distributed from Colombia and Venezuela to Bolivia. Subspecies
stolli which is found in Colombia,
Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil has a red tuft on the head. This is
also present in the Bolivian subspecies
erythrostigma, but is often absent in
sejanus sejanus from Peru.
Satipo, Peru ©
This species is found in rainforest and cloudforest at altitudes
between about 500-1500m.
I have no
data relating to the lifecycle of Mysarbia.
Males are almost always
encountered as singletons, imbibing mineralised moisture from damp
sunlit tracks or roads in rainforest or cloudforest. They can also
sometimes be found on the river beaches of Amazonian tributaries, or
at the edge of lagoons.
Almost all other members of the Pyrrhopyginae bask periodically with
their wings outspread, but I have never observed this posture in
Mysarbia, which always hold their wings
erect, even in overcast weather.