Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
FELDER & FELDER, 1865
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - COLIADINAE
Colias flaveola weberbaueri form
nigerimma, male, La Oroya, Peru ©
Members of the subfamily
Coliadinae, commonly known as Brimstones, Sulphurs, Grass Yellows
and Clouded Yellows, are found in all regions of the world, and
total about 300 species. The majority are migratory in behaviour -
Colias crocea for example migrates
every summer from north Africa to England, and
Phoebis agarithe migrates seasonally from the Amazon lowlands
to moderate altitudes in the Andes.
is one of several Clouded Yellow species which breed at high
altitudes in the Andes. It has evolved 6 subspecies, probably due to
isolation during periods of glaciation. These subspecies include
erika - a well marked pale
primrose-yellow race, and the dark and indistinctly marked
weberbaueri. Males of the latter are very heavily marked,
with no trace of pale areas on either surface of the forewings.
Females are paler, with the basal two-thirds of the forewings
off-white, and the hindwings pale greenish yellow on the underside.
in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. The illustrated subspecies
weberbaueri is restricted to the high
Andes of Peru and Bolivia.
This species breeds on dry puna grasslands and lightly grazed
pastures at elevations between 2800-4000 metres, in areas bathed in
the warm sunshine above the cloud line for most of the year.
stages appear to be undescribed, but the following characteristics
are typical of the genus Colias, and
therefore probably apply to flaveola :
eggs are bottle-shaped, ribbed vertically, in most species are
creamy yellow or pale green when first laid, but later turn orange
or dark crimson. They are nearly always laid singly, on the leaves
of the larval foodplants.
caterpillars are typically green, with a white or yellow lateral
line that is sometimes edged with by a series or black or pinkish
dashes. The spiracles are usually highlighted in yellow or orange.
The larval foodplants of
Colias species are varied, North American
Colias species for example feed on
plants including Leguminous herbs such as
Astragalus, and on dwarf sallows Salix,
and bilberry Vaccinium. The pabula used
by most neotropical species are unknown.
chrysalis is usually green or straw coloured, and fixed vertically
to a stem by the cremaster and a silken girdle.
Migrating adults fly rapidly across
the Andean grasslands, stopping momentarily to nectar at any available
flowers, and often patrolling back and forth along ridges.