Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
Tribe - LEPTOCIRCINI
Protesilaus glaucolaus, Rio Pindayo, Peru ©
Butterflies in the genus
Protesilaus are characterised by having translucent white
wings, tinged on the underside with green or yellow, and marked with
narrow black stripes. The forewings are decidedly triangular in
shape, and the hindwings adorned with a single long sword-like tail.
The bodies are relatively short, and the antennal tips strongly
can easily be confused with other Swordtail species. One feature
which helps differentiate between the various
Protesilaus species is the length of the dark bars on the
forewing. In this species the 4th bar ( in ascending order from the
wing base ) extends to about one-third way down the discal cell.
Other distinguishing characteristics include the shape of the red
tornal spot, and the configuration of the very thin submarginal
crescents on the hindwings.
P. glaucolaus was
first described and named by the legendary naturalist Henry Walter
Bates, who famously postulated what is now known as the Batesian
theory of butterfly mimicry.
occurs from Panama to Peru.
occurs in lowland rainforest at elevations from about 100-800m.
Swordtails such as Protesilaus and
Protographium are migratory in behaviour,
following river courses as they travel.
can often be seen gathered in groups on sandbanks, filter-feeding on
dissolved minerals by continually pumping water though their bodies.
This species invariably aggregates with other Swordtail species, often
joined by various Pierids.