Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Amber Paradise Skipper
Phocides oreides HEWITSON,
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
Tribe - EUDAMINI
Phocides oreides oreides, Satipo, Peru ©
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
Phocides bear a remarkable resemblance
to their distant cousins Jemadia,
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
Tarsoctenus and Elbella are
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.
This species is found in tropical and subtropical forest at
altitudes between 0-900m.
The eggs are
reportedly laid singly on the upperside of leaves of the foodplants.
Phocides species are known to feed on
Eugenia ( Myrtaceae ). They are nocturnal feeders, and rest
by day in nests constructed from silk and folded leaves.
are normally found as solitary males imbibing mineralised water from
wet ground at the edge of small streams. They are usually very easy to