Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
There are 1100 known species of Satyrinae in the neotropical region.
About 570 of these are placed in the
subtribe Pronophilina - a diverse group of high altitude cloudforest
butterflies, all of which are confined to the neotropical region.
The vast majority are found only in the Andes, but 4 species are
known from the Atlantic cloudforests of Brazil, and there are a
further 6 species that are endemic to Guatemala, Costa Rica or
Mexico. More oddly there is one genus Calisto
that is found exclusively on the Caribbean islands of Cuba and
The genus Corades
comprises of 23 described species, all denizens of the neotropical
cloudforests. The butterflies are easily recognisable by their large
size and very distinctively shaped hindwings. The pattern on the
underside varies according to species. Many such as
and medeba are a unicolorous brown,
peppered and striated with grey and black, while others including
and chirone are beautifully marbled or
banded with cream.
Corades chelonis is
one of the most beautiful of the genus.
Corades pax is very similar but has an additional orange spot
at the tornus of the forewing.
species occur from Colombia and Venezuela to Peru.
This species inhabits cloudforests at elevations between about
The lifecycle appears to be unrecorded. The following
generalisations are applicable to the subtribe Pronophilina and are
probably applicable to
eggs are round, white or pale greenish white, and laid singly on the
foodplants or on surrounding vegetation. The larvae are typically
pale brown, marked along the back and sides with narrow dark
stripes, and tapering towards each end. The head is large in
proportion to the body and has two short forward-pointing horns. The
tip of the abdomen is equipped with a pair of caudal prongs which
are used to flick the frass away from the feeding area.
The larvae of all known Pronophilina feed on
Chusquea - a genus of bamboo which
grows in thickets, mainly along the courses of streams.
Corades chelonis, 2700m, Colombia
© Blair Wainman
butterflies are encountered singly, usually observed at rest on
foliage at a height of about 2-3 metres above ground level. They also
imbibe dissolved organic substances from decomposing vegetation on the