Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
Tribe - PYRGINI
Sophista aristoteles, Rio Shima, Peru ©
Pyrginae, popularly known as Flats or Spreadwings, are a
cosmopolitan subfamily distributed across temperate and tropical
habitats throughout the world. In the Americas there are 990
species, of which about
580 are assigned to the tribe Pyrgini.
This attractive and unusually marked Skipper is
impossible to mistake for any other species. It is one of only 2
members of the genus Sophista, the
other being latifasciata. In the latter
the wings are far more rounded, and the white bar on the forewing
extends to reach the costa.
Sophista aristoteles is distributed
from Venezuela to Brazil, Peru and Bolivia.
The butterfly is found in primary rainforest at altitudes between
The lifecycle appears to be unknown. Generally, Pyrgine butterflies
lay their eggs singly on either the upperside or underside of
leaves. The larvae are typically dull green or brownish, with thin
longitudinal lines along the back and sides, and with black shiny
heads. They feed typically on herbaceous plants, but a small
percentage feed on the leaves of bushes or trees. The pupae are
usually dark and smooth, with the wing cases in a contrasting tone
or colour. They are normally formed within silken tents formed by
spinning together the leaves of the foodplant.
only observations of this species have been of singletons imbibing
moisture from rocky substrates. In Venezuela I found the species
flying around bushes and settling to drink from the edge of puddles
that formed on silicaceous rocks at Jasper Falls, Gran Sabana. In Peru
I found it drinking from wet gravel on the bed of a small shallow
stream that fed into the Rio Madre de Dios.
Sophista aristoteles, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru ©