Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe - EUMAEINI
Pantiacolla, Rio Alto Madre de Dios, 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 Thestius comprises of 10
known species, variously distributed from Panama to Peru.
Thestius selina is sexually dimorphic -
males have iridescent turquoise uppersides, while the undersides of
fore and hindwings are blackish, with bands of metallic scales which
reflect hues of blue, turquoise or silvery green according to the
angel of the sunlight. Females are earthy brown on the upperside.
Their forewings are also a unicolorous brown beneath, but the
hindwings have a broad cream median band, and a black post median
band in which are a series of silvery blue spots.
This butterfly is distributed throughout most of the Amazonian
region from Surinam to Peru.
This species is found in primary rainforest habitats at altitudes
between about 200-800m.
butterflies probably spend much of their lives in the upper canopy,
but singletons are sometimes encountered in glades and other forest
edge habitats, at which times they settle on foliage, typically at a
height of about 1-2 metres. When at rest the wings are always held
erect, and are often tilted so that the wing surface is at right
angles to the rays of the sun.