Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
Corades ulema, Manu cloudforest, Peru ©
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 known species, but it is likely that more will be
discovered as remote cloudforest regions become more fully explored.
The butterflies are instantly recognisable by
their large size and 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.
The uppersides of Corades
species are dark brown, and in most species the forewings are marked
with splashes of orange or deep red. The upperside hindwings of
several species including chelonis,
enyo and pax
are almost wholly reddish-orange. The upperside of
ulema is a dingy earthy brown, heavily
peppered on the forewings with ochreous.
Corades ulema occurs
in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
This species breeds in
the forested calderas of
extinct volcanoes such as Pululuhua Crater in Ecuador, and in
cloudforests at altitudes
of 2000-2800m in Peru and Bolivia.
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.
butterflies are encountered singly and infrequently, and perch on
foliage at heights of about 3 or 4 metres above the ground. In
mid-late afternoon the males will sometimes descend to imbibe moisture
at the edge of shallow streams, particularly where they ford
unsurfaced roads in well forested areas.