Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe - EUMAEINI
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 Tmolus comprises of 15 known
species, including 9 recently discovered by Robbins while examining
museum specimens, which have not currently been assigned scientific
The males of all species are dark brown on the upperside, with a
brilliant metallic blue sheen over the hindwings and over the basal
area of the forewings. Females are a paler shade of brown, and
typically have only the slightest trace of blue on the upperside.
The undersides vary considerably according to species - some such as
mutina are quite plain, marked only
with a thin white median hair streak and a pale orange tornal spot.
In others including echion and
crolinus the hair streak on the
hindwing is broken into a staggered series of orange dashes, and
there are additional squarish orange spots in the basal area.
Tmolus cydrara is unusual in its
markings, and cannot be confused with any other member of the
The commonest and most widespread Tmolus
species is echion, which can be found
throughout the neotropics from Mexico to Paraguay and Argentina.
Tmolus cydrara is distributed from
southern Mexico to Peru.
This species is found in rainforest and cloudforest habitats at
altitudes between about 200-1000m.
butterflies are usually encountered when imbibing mineralised moisture
from boulders or logs, or when settled on low foliage.