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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Stichel's Nymphidium
Nymphidium plinthobaphis  STICHEL, 1910
Family - RIODINIDAE
subfamily - RIODININAE
Tribe - RIODININI
subtribe - NYMPHIDIINA

Nymphidium plinthobaphis, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The triangular white patch on the forewings, broad white bands across the hindwings, and orange markings of this butterfly are found in 3 genera of Riodinidae - Synargis, Juditha and Nymphidium. The latter are more delicate in appearance than the others, and have narrower forewings. Other features which help distinguish Nymphidium include the ovoid bluish-white submarginal markings, and the orange bars in the discal cell of the forewings.
There are 33 species of Nymphidium distributed variously from Belize to Bolivia, with the greatest number of species being found in the upper Amazon of Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. Most are generally similar in appearance, varying mainly in the extent of the orange markings. In some species the orange is vestigial or absent, and in mantus the orange is replaced by a beautiful sapphire blue.
Nymphidium plinthobaphis is a common and widespread species found in Brazil, Ecuador and Peru.
Habitats
This species is found in primary and disturbed rainforest and deciduous forest at altitudes between about 100-600m, and is found in glades and forest edges, along roadsides and riverbanks, and at large light gaps.
Lifecycle
The eggs of all Nymphidium species are white and are laid either singly or in small clusters on the stems or leaves of the larval foodplants which include Inga and possibly other Fabaceae. The larvae are green and devoid of setae. They live within rolled tubes at the edges of leaves. They possess a full set of ant organs indicating that they have a dependent or symbiotic relationship with the Azteca ants that attend them.
Adult behaviour

The butterflies are usually encountered in flight along sunny trails. They have a characteristic gentle fluttering flight at a height of about 2-3 metres, but spend long periods at rest beneath leaves, with wings outspread, and antennae pointing forward. Males occasionally settle on the ground to imbibe mineralised moisture but this behaviour is not habitual. Both sexes nectar at Alibertia, Psychotria, Croton, Lantana and Cordia flowers. The flight is weak and fluttery.

 

 

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