Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - PIERINAE
Tribe - PIERINI
Perrhybris pamela, male, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru ©
combination of conspicuous black and orange markings on a white
ground colour is a common theme amongst the Pierinae and
Dismorphiinae. This aposematic colouration is indicative of their
known noxious toxic qualities which deter avian predators.
On the upper surface of the wings males are white with a black
apex, but the females are entirely different, patterned with bands
of orange, yellow and black.
They are regarded as Müllerian mimics of "tiger-complex" Ithomiines
in the genus
According to the Batesian mimicry theory, any bird that suffers the
unpleasant experience of tasting a noxious species will remember its
pattern and will consequently sight-reject any similarly coloured
mimicry operates differently.
theory addresses cases where a group of noxious species share a
common colour scheme. It states that the evolution of a common
scheme reinforces an aposematic "image" in the mind of birds,
thereby affording each species with greater protection than if they
each had a different aposematic pattern.
Perrhybris is exclusively neotropical
in distribution. There are 3 known species -
lorena, lypera and
pamela. The latter species is also
known by the junior synonym pyrrha.
has 18 recognised subspecies, found variously in Mexico, Honduras,
Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Surinam, French Guiana,
Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
Perrhybris pamela, female, Pantiacolla, Rio Alto Madre de
Dios, Peru ©
species breeds in lowland rainforest at altitudes between sea level
and about 900m.
Perrhybris pamela, female, Satipo, Peru ©
The eggs are bright yellow.
They are laid in batches of between 20-80 on either side of the
leaves of Capparis.
The fully grown larva is black,
with several yellow rings around each segment. The head and anal
claspers are bright red. The larvae feed gregariously, lined up in
neat groups on the upper surface of leaves of
Capparis ( Capparidaceae ).
chrysalis is brown with patches of dark green, 3 black spines on
each abdominal segment, and an orange cremaster. Up to 20 pupae may
be found in a cluster on the upper surface of a leaf.
Perrhybris pamela, males, Satipo, Peru ©
Males are usually found in small
groups of up to half a dozen, mud-puddling amidst aggregations of
other white butterflies including Protesilaus
swordtails and various Pierids.
Females are usually seen singly, visiting the flowers of herbaceous
plants, or flying along forest trails searching for oviposition sites.
Both sexes roost overnight among herbage.
Perrhybris pamela, male, Satipo, Peru ©