Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe - EUMAEINI
Maria, Peru ©
Almost all neotropical Theclinae species are placed in the Eumaeini.
The tribe is not particularly well represented in collections, so
until fairly recently a high percentage remained unstudied, and were
inappropriately filed away in the 'convenience' genus
Thecla. Many taxonomists have attempted
to rationalise the systematics of the Eumaeini, the most recent
being Robbins who published a revision in 2004, reclassifying the
taxa into 83 genera. Currently there are 1058 known species. Taking
into account their small size, secretive behaviour, and the great
similarities between many species, it is estimated that about
another 200 species probably remain to be discovered.
The genus Strymon comprises of 54 known
species, variously distributed across the Americas from Canada to
Chile and Uruguay.
The males of most species have metallic blue patches on the upper
hindwings, sometimes also on the forewings. Females of all species
have plain earthy brown uppersides. All species have a pair of short
'tails' at the tornus of the hindwing, although these are often lost
after the butterflies have flown for a couple of days. The
undersides vary considerably - e.g. in the
davara group of species they are marbled in shades of brown;
the acis group have pale brown
undersides with conspicuous white hairstreak lines and a large
orange patch near the tornus, and the
basilides group have pale undersides with a broken band of
The genus is named
after the Greek river Strymon. It refers to the river-like
'hairstreak' line on the underside of many Eumaeini genera including
Chlorostrymon and Electrostrymon.
In many species this streak is indistinct or is broken up into a
series of spots.
Strymon mulucha is distributed from
Mexico to southern Brazil and Peru.
This species is found in rainforest and cloudforest habitats at
altitudes between about 500-1000m.
butterflies are usually encountered in open sunny situations, either
perching on boulders or on the foliage of bushes.
Maria, Peru © Dave Griffiths