Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
FELDER & FELDER, 1861
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - COLIADINAE
Pauti, Junin, Peru ©
The subfamily Coliadinae includes the Sulphurs,
Grass Yellows, Clouded Yellows and Brimstones. In the neotropical
region there are about 70 species.
The genus Phoebis
comprises 8 species. Most are migratory, and widely distributed
throughout the neotropical region. There are however a few
non-migratory and very localised species -
avellaneda which is found only in Cuba,
editha which is endemic to Haiti, and
bourkei - found only in Ecuador.
Phoebis species are sexually dimorphic.
Males are bright yellow above, with a thick patch of matt
androconial scales around the forewing cell. Females are paler on
both wing surfaces.
Phoebis neocypris is found from Mexico
to Brazil and Peru. The illustrated subspecies
rurina occurs in Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia.
As with other migratory Phoebis
species, neocypris can be found in a
wide range of habitats among which are primary
and secondary rainforest, deciduous woodland, scrubby grassland and
farmland. It is a lowland species, rarely found above 1000m
male, Satipo, Peru ©
The egg is yellow and is laid singly beneath young leaves of
Zygia and Cassia
( Caesalpinaceae ). The larva is brownish, suffused with green along
the back and sides, and with a pale yellow lateral stripe. The
chrysalis is pale green and hangs upside down from a leaf or stem,
attached by the cremaster and secured with a silken girdle.
Males are usually seen in lower numbers
than sennae or
argante, but can often be found amongst mud-puddling
aggregations of other Phoebis species.
These insects often form very tightly packed groups of dozens of
individuals. If alarmed the entire group erupts spontaneously into the
air and swirls about for several minutes afterwards in a seething mass
of fluttering yellow wings.
The paler females are seen less often,
and are usually observed in flight, or when nectaring at red flowers
such as Lantana and
Impatiens. There is no courtship ritual - the females are
intercepted in mid-flight and forced to the ground where copulation
takes place immediately.
male, Satipo, Peru ©