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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Amber Paradise Skipper
Phocides oreides  HEWITSON, 1845
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
Tribe - EUDAMINI
Phocides oreides oreides, Satipo, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The subfamily Pyrginae are characterised by their habit of basking with wings outspread, compared to the half-open position favoured by the Hesperiinae.
The tribe Eudamini includes 44 genera in the Americas, amongst which are the Long-tailed Skippers Urbanus, Chioides and Aguna; and other familiar genera including Phocides, Autochton, Astraptes and Calaenorrhinus.
Phocides bear a remarkable resemblance to their distant cousins Jemadia, Tarsoctenus and Elbella, all of which are placed in a different subfamily, the Pyrrhopyginae. This suggests that they may all be involved in a mimicry complex as it is difficult to understand why two very similar patterns could otherwise have evolved. Most Pyrrhopyginae exhibit aposematic colouration, implying that they are generally unpalateable or toxic to birds. It seems likely that Phocides are Batesian mimics and that Jemadia, Tarsoctenus and Elbella are Mullerian mimics.
The easiest way to distinguish Phocides from the other genera is to examine the metallic turquoise-white stripes in the basal area of the forewings. These radiate from the base in Phocides but are vertical in the Pyrrhopygine genera.
There are 18 Phocides species, distributed variously from Texas and Florida to Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.
Phocides oreides is distributed along the eastern Andes from Colombia to Peru.
Habitats
This species is found in tropical and subtropical forest at altitudes between 0-900m.
Lifecycle
The eggs are reportedly laid singly on the upperside of leaves of the foodplants. Phocides species are known to feed on Psidium and Eugenia ( Myrtaceae ). They are nocturnal feeders, and rest by day in nests constructed from silk and folded leaves.
Adult behaviour

The butterflies are normally found as solitary males imbibing mineralised water from wet ground at the edge of small streams. They are usually very easy to approach.

 

 

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