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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Cramer's Proboscis Skipper
Saliana salius  CRAMER, 1775
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - HESPERIINAE
Saliana salius Rio Pindayo, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
There are 2365 described species of Hesperiidae in the Neotropical region. The family is divided into 5 subfamilies - Pyrrhopyginae, Pyrginae, Heteropterinae, Megathyminae and Hesperiinae.
The 1040 species of Hesperiinae are commonly known as Grass Skippers, because their larvae feed on grasses, bamboos and other monocotyledons.
Saliana are easily recognised due to the distinctive pale basal area and white or semi-hyaline spots on the underside hindwings, but distinguishing between the individual species is difficult and in many cases it is necessary to dissect and microscopically examine the genitalia.
There are 20 known species, and almost certainly several more awaiting discovery. The butterflies are popularly known as Proboscis Skippers due to the length of the tongues, which is approximately equal to the wingspan of the butterfly.
Saliana salius is one of the most common and widespread members of the genus. It is distributed from Mexico to Brazil and Uruguay.
Habitats
This species was photographed in riparian forest at about 400m altitude, on the Rio Madre de Dios in southern Peru.
Lifecycle
To be completed.
Adult behaviour

These butterflies are usually encountered singly in light gaps or along narrow trails through primary rainforest. They use their extraordinarily long proboscises to nectar at deep-throated flowers. They also feed at bird droppings, at which time they sit in front of the dropping, curling their proboscis under their body to reach the pabulum behind them.

The commonest method deployed by entomologists to attract Saliana species is to place a small piece of wet white tissue paper on top of a leaf - the butterflies are attracted to this, fooled into believing it is a bird dropping.

 

 

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