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
Junea are allied to
Thiemeia and Daedalma. These
genera are all characterised by having scalloped wing margins and
prominent ocelli. There are 2 species of Junea,
namely doraete and
dorinda. Both have brown uppersides
marked with whitish spots that form a single row on the outer
forewings of dorinda, and a double row
occurs from Colombia to southern Peru, and possibly Bolivia.
This scarce and rarely glimpsed species frequents the transitional
zone where the paramo / puna grasslands merge with stunted
cloudforest at altitudes between 2800-3500m in the Andes. I have
only encountered doraete twice - at
Pululuhua Crater in Ecuador, and at Manu cloudforest in the eastern
Andes of southern Peru.
The lifecycle appears to be unrecorded. The following
generalisations are applicable to the subtribe Pronophilina and are
probably applicable to
eggs are globular, 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.
Junea doraete feeding at dung, Manu
cloudforest, 3370m, Peru ©
At Pululuhua Crater in Ecuador I
found a male doraete aggregating with
all feeding at the corpse of a small snake which had been run over by
a vehicle. In Manu in Peru I found 4 males feeding at mammal dung by
the roadside at an altitude of 3370m. They were so engrossed in
feeding that they were oblivious of my presence, and even ignored
heavy vehicles that passes close by. However they were extremely
sensitive to changes in temperature and light level, flying up to
settle on the trunks of stunted trees whenever cloud caused the
temperature to drop slightly. The return of sunshine a few minutes
later caused them to return and recommence feeding at the dung.