Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - RIODINIDAE
subfamily - RIODININAE
Zelotaea nivosa, Rio Shima, Peru ©
There are 9 known species in the genus
Zelotaea, including one recently
discovered by Callaghan & Lamas in Colombia, which has not yet been
assigned a scientific name.
Some Zelotaea species such as
phasma are entirely white, except for a
brownish suffusion along the veins. The majority however are similar
to nivosa, with chocolate brown
forewings marked with patches of white; and hindwings that are white
with dark brown margins. They are small fast-flying insects and can
easily be confused at a glance with Hesperiines.
The most widespread
species is phasma which is found across
most of Brazil. The other species are mostly each known
from only a single country, e.g. alba
and suffusca are known only from
Guyana, while watkinsi and
nivosa appear to only have been found
This butterfly is found in primary rainforest at altitudes between
The lifecycle appears to be unknown.
only observation of this species is of a singleton which flew down
from a treetop and settled on the leaf of a bush in disturbed
rainforest at Rio Shima in Peru, in August.