Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe - EUMAEINI
© David Fischer
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.
Olynthus contains 20 species. On the
upperside, males of all species are metallic blue or turquoise, with
well-defined broad black margins. The undersides are so variable
from one species to another that it is virtually impossible to
describe any common visual characteristics, other than that they all
possess a single long filamentous tail. Most of the species are
quite distinctive - the red basal spot and large black cell spot of
narbal making it instantly
recognisable. It should however be noted that the red spots are not
present in all individuals of the species.
Olynthus narbal is known from Panama,
Colombia, Surinam, Guyana, Brazil and Peru.