Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - MORPHINAE
Tribe - BRASSOLINI
subtribe - BRASSOLINA
Satipo, Peru ©
The Morphinae comprises
of about 140-150 neotropical species, of which 93 are included
within the tribe Brassolini. Of these 73 are placed in the
Brassolina - a subtribe including the genera
Opsiphanes, Orobrassolis and Selenophanes.
All Brassolines are crepuscular or nocturnal in behaviour, although
a few species also fly by day in the darkest areas of the forest.
Opsiphanes comprises of 11 species
distributed variously from Mexico to Paraguay and Argentina. The
butterflies are characterised by having a stout thorax and abdomen,
large eyes and sturdy antennae. The costa is strongly curved, and
the forewing termen is slightly concave. In all species the
upperside wings are dark brown in colour with a diagonal orange or
yellowish band on the forewings. The undersides are an earthy brown
hue. There are dark striations on the outer half of the wings, and
heavy marbling at the base. On the hindwings there is a prominent
ocellus within which there is a white crescent, and there is a
smaller almost circular ocellus near the tornus.
Opsiphanes invirae occurs in central America from Honduras to
Panama. In South America it occurs east of the Andes from Colombia
to Paraguay. There are 13 named subspecies.
agasthenes, Satipo, Peru ©
This species is found in primary and secondary rainforest, at
altitudes up to about 1000m.
The egg is
globular, and is laid singly, typically on the stems or dead leaf
blades of the foodplants, which include Cocos
eriospatha, Livistona australia,
Arecastrum romanzoffianum, ( Arecaceae
). The caterpillar feeds nocturnally. When fully grown it is
yellow-green with dark green and reddish lateral and dorsal lines.
The head is dark green and has 4 short backward projecting reddish
horns. The larvae are parasitised by the Braconid wasp
Apanteles biezankoi. The chrysalis is
light green, marked with gold spots on the sides.
Opsiphanes invirae sticheli,
Tatama NP, Colombia ©
Opsiphanes fly mainly at dusk and dawn.
They are usually encountered in two's and three's in the company of
Prepona and Memphis
species, feeding at rotting fruit on the forest floor. They also feed
at decomposing fruit in the canopy, and occasionally at peccary dung
Satipo, Peru ©