Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe - EUMAEINI
Tatama NP, Colombia
© Chris Orpin
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 Theritas comprises of 26
species, variously distributed from Mexico to Peru, Bolivia and
Argentina. The males of all species have metallic blue or turquoise
uppersides, and have a large patch of androconial scales in the
discal cell of the forewing. In some species this patch is dark
brown in colour, but in others it is partially or completely
obscured by the overlying sheen.
In a few species such as mavors and
hemon the females are earthy brown on
the upperside, but the majority have a blue sheen like their male
counterparts. Both sexes of all species have a long thin tail
projecting at an angle from the tornus of the hindwing at vein 2.
Several species including mavors,
hemon and drucei
also have a shorter tail projecting from vein 3, although this is so
thin and fragile that it is often shed after a few days of flight.
Theritas mavors is distributed from
Mexico to Colombia, Venezuela, Surinam and Guyana.
This species is found in rainforest and cloudforest habitats at
altitudes between about 600-1800m.
To be completed.
The butterflies probably spend much of their lives in the upper canopy
but singletons are sometimes encountered at light gaps or forest edge
habitats, at which times they settle on low foliage. Males also
sometimes descend to imbibe moisture from damp earth. Both sexes
always settle with their wings held erect.