Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - RIODINIDAE
subfamily - RIODININAE
Tribe - RIODININI
Ancyluris melior, Shima, Peru ©
comprises of 16 beautiful tailed Riodinids, all confined to the
neotropical region. They are closely related to the genus
so much so that the females of
are almost indistinguishable, at least from
Most Ancyluris species have black
uppersides marked with red bands which tend to be paler in the
females. The configuration of the bands on the hindwings is the
primary diagnostic for distinguishing between the various species.
In melior the black ground colour often
has a purplish sheen. Two species,
formosissima and aristodorus are
marked with broad white bands instead of the usual red. One species
inca, has a flush of metallic blue on
the upperside hindwings. Most species are bright metallic blue on
the underside, marked in some species with patches of red. Males of
all Ancyluris species have a blue
iridescence on the underside of the wings.
Ancyluris melior is
probably confined to Peru, and to Amazonas state, Brazil.
This is a mid-elevation rainforest species found at altitudes
between about 400-1000m.
I have no data
regarding melior but the lifecycle is
likely to be similar to that of other
Ancyluris species as follows: The eggs are white and highly
sculptured. They are laid singly in fissures on the stems or twigs
of the foodplants.
Egg-laying females tend to settle high up, then walk backwards down
the stem, probing with the ovipositor in various places before
depositing each egg.
foodplants are trees in the families Melastomaceae and
Euphorbiaceae. The larvae are gregarious, living in small groups of
mixed instars. They are reported to be cannibalistic.
This is an uncommon species, but
males can sometimes be found imbibing moisture from damp soil or from
the edges of puddles or streams. They are nearly always encountered
singly, and tend to avoid the heat of midday, preferring the cooler
conditions of early morning or late afternoon.
Ancyluris melior, Satipo, Peru
© Peter Bruce-Jones