Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Prepona pylene eugenes, Satipo, Peru ©
Charaxinae are a group of robust, medium to large Nymphalids
characterised by having a rapid and powerful flight, stout bodies,
and a habit of feeding at dung and carrion.
They are represented in Africa by
and Euxanthe, in the Oriental and
Australian regions by Charaxes and
Polyura; and in the neotropics by
genera including Consul,
are very similar on the upper surface, being chocolate brown with
bands of dazzling blue or turquoise. The 2 genera can be
distinguished by examining the underside hind-wings - in
there is a tiny submarginal ocellus in each cell, but in
the ocellus near the apex, and the one near the tornus, are both
greatly enlarged. Another difference is that
males have tufts of yellow androconial scales on the upper surface
of the hind-wings, whereas in
these are black. Both genera are noted for their red proboscises.
There are 7 species in
and 8 in
is found throughout the Amazonian region from Honduras to Paraguay.
Subspecies eugenes is restricted to the foothills of the eastern
Andes in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
This species is found in rainforests at altitudes between about
I have no data regarding the
lifecycle of pylene. The larval
foodplants of other Prepona species
Andira ( Fabaceae ) and
( Mimosaceae ).
have an agile and very powerful flight, and are only active in hot
commonly feed at sap runs and at rotting fruit. Males also imbibe
mineralised moisture from damp soil or sand, and sometimes visit
carrion or dung on the forest floor.
Males often sit
facing head-downwards and with wings half open, on narrow tree trunks
at heights between about 2-4 metres, and from this position watch for
potential mates. Females tend to spend most of the time in the canopy.