Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
FELDER & FELDER, 1861
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - BIBLIDINAE
Tribe - BIBLIDINI
subtribe - EPICALIINA
Catonephele salambria, male, Manu cloudforest, 1700m, Peru ©
Catonephele contains 11 species, with
wingspans of circa 65-80mm. The males are dark brown on the
upperside with dazzling reflective orange patches which vary in size
and shape from one species to another.
are entirely different in appearance. In most species their dark
brown wings are marked with linear rows of cream spots. The
exception is numilia which has a large
cream patch in the median area of the forewing and in which the
basal and submarginal areas of the hindwings are deep red.
sexes of all species have cryptic undersides in shades of brown.
occurs from Colombia to Bolivia.
This species breeds in pre-montane rainforest and cloudforest
habitats at altitudes of between about 500-1800m.
have no information specific to
but the lifecycle is likely to be similar to that of a typical
Catonephele species as follows:
The eggs are barrel-shaped, white or yellowish,
and laid singly on the foliage of seedling trees of
Dalechampia or Veconcibea (
fully grown larvae are variable, some species being dark green
mottled with white spots while others are black with maroon
markings. In all species the larvae are adorned with prominent
whorled spikes along the back and sides and a pair of metallic blue
spines projecting from the head capsule. They rest with the body
arched and the face appressed to the substrate. If molested by
parasitoids or predators they wriggle violently. The pupa is dark
green with brown or silvery wing pads. It is attached by the
cremaster to leaves, with the body projecting laterally.
butterflies are usually encountered singly. Males perch on tree
trunks, and bask on foliage or fallen branches in light gaps, often
less than a metre above ground level, and are reminiscent in behaviour
of Nessaea. If disturbed they usually
spend a few moments circling cautiously, but then resettle close to
their original position.
Females are scarcer, and
usually seen when searching for oviposition sites along forest trails,
but occasionally bask on sunlit paths.
sexes are attracted to rotting plantain or banana on the ground, and
probably feed primarily at overripe fruits in the forest canopy. Males
also imbibe mineral-rich moisture from damp earth along forest tracks