Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
Manu cloudforest, 2400m, 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 Lasiophila
comprises 14 medium sized species characterised by having heavily
scalloped hind wings which on the underside resemble bits of curled
up dead brown foliage. The uppersides of most of the species are
dark brown, with extensive areas of orange or deep reddish, and a
series of round dark submarginal spots on the hindwings. The
exceptions are prosymna which has a
broad white diagonal bar on the forewings; and
cirta and piscina which both
have prominent white patches on the hindwings.
is found commonly in the cloudforests of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and
Machu Picchu, Peru ©
This is a cloudforest species found at altitudes 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.
Machu Picchu, Peru ©
freshly emerged the butterflies are a beautiful deep red colour, but
after a few days exposure to sunlight this fades to an insipid
butterflies are commonly seen in flight along roadsides and wide
trails, but spend much of their time at rest in the dappled sunlight
of the forest understorey. They feed at rotting fruit on the forest
floor, and occasionally visit flowers, but are more often found at
dung or carrion.