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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Pamela
Perrhybris pamela  STOLL, 1780
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - PIERINAE
Tribe - PIERINI

Perrhybris pamela, male, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru © Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The 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 Mechanitis.
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 palatable species.  Müllerian mimicry operates differently. Müller's 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.
The genus 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.
Perrhybris pamela 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 © Adrian Hoskins
Habitats
This species breeds in lowland rainforest at altitudes between sea level and about 900m.
Perrhybris pamela, female, Satipo, Peru © Adrian Hoskins
Lifecycle
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 ).
The 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 © Adrian Hoskins
Adult behaviour

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 © Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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