Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe - EUMAEINI
Medellin, Colombia ©
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 Nicolaea comprises of about
40 species, variously distributed from Mexico to Paraguay and
Argentina. The males of most species have dark earthy brown
uppersides flushed with metallic blue. In females the blue areas are
paler, and confined mainly to the hindwings. The undersides of most
species are similar to the illustrated
heraldica, although some such as
fabulla have the band on the hindwing broken up into large
Nicolaea heraldica is the commonest and
most widely distributed species, being found from Mexico to central
This species is found in rainforest and cloudforest at elevations
between about 200-1600m.
To be completed.
butterflies spend most of their lives in the canopy but occasionally
descend and settle on low foliage.