Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Tailed Jewelmark
Sarota chrysus  STOLL, 1781
subfamily - RIODININAE
Sarota chrysus, Rio Claro, Colombia  Adrian Hoskins
The genus Sarota was reviewed in 1998 by Jason Hall, who recognised a total of 20 species, found variously from Mexico to Bolivia, with the highest concentration in Ecuador. It has been estimated that certain locations along the base of the eastern Andes each hold up to 15 species. Most of them are extremely rare and elusive - so much so that only that even the most experienced observers rarely manage to see more than half a dozen species in a lifetime.
Both sexes of all Sarota species are characterised by having dull blackish or brownish uppersides which in some species are marked with suffused whitish spots. The undersides are reddish orange, marked with metallic silver streaks and lines, small black spots, and yellow margins.
All Sarota species have cute furry legs, but only a few have tails on the hindwings - these include subtessellata, turrialbensis, neglecta and craspediodonta from Central America, chocoensis from Colombia and Ecuador, and chrysus.
Sarota chrysus is found across most of tropical Central and South America, from Mexico to Brazil, Peru and Bolivia.
This species inhabits rainforest and cloudforest at elevations between about 200-1600m.
Females oviposit on mosses and liverworts ( Lejuniaceae ) that grow as epiphytes on old leaves of various understorey shrubs. The tiny eggs are white, globular and pitted like a sponge. The larvae when fully grown are protected by dense coat of whitish setae. If a larva is molested by an ant the setae break off and become lodged in the ant's mandibles, preventing attack. Larvae feed solitarily, and rest underneath leaves. The pupa is formed within a rolled leaf, lined with loose hairs.
Adult behaviour

Sarota chrysus is usually encountered singly. Both sexes are normally discovered when at rest beneath the leaves of bushes or saplings.

Sarota chrysus, Rio Claro, Colombia  Adrian Hoskins


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