Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
tribe - EUDAMINI
subfamily Pyrginae are characterised by their habit of basking with
wings outspread, compared to the half-open position favoured by the
tribe Eudamini includes 44 genera in the Americas, amongst which are
the Long-tailed Skippers Urbanus,
Aguna; and other familiar genera including
Autochton, Astraptes and
Phanus comprises of 9 very similar
species with dark brown wings heavily patterned with transparent
streaks and spots.
Phanus vitreus is a widespread but uncommon species, found
from Mexico to southern Brazil.
This butterfly is found in lowland rainforest at
altitudes between about 100-800m.
early instars the larva is pale translucent yellowish-green, with a
brown head. When fully grown it is reddish brown with an olive-brown
head. The foodplants are the trees Inga
and Swartzia ( Fabaceae ).
most of the time hiding or perching underneath leaves, from which they
frequently dart out at high speed to intercept and investigate other
butterflies. After each foray they usually return to their original
perch. They follow army ant processions across the forest, feeding on
the droppings of the ant-birds, which themselves feed on insects
disturbed by the ants. The skippers can be baited by using
bird-dropping substitutes e.g. small pieces of white tissue moistened
with saline solution.
Phanus are most often encountered when
nectaring at flowers in forest clearings.