Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Leptophobia caesia tenuicornis
BUTLER & DRUCE, 1872
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - PIERINAE
Leptophobia caesia tenuicornis, Tatama NP, Colombia
© Adrian Hoskins
In the neotropical region there are a total of 192 representatives
of the subfamily Pierinae.
The genus Leptophobia comprises of 20
currently known species. Three of these have only recently been
discovered ( 2000-2003 ).
All the species have black markings on the upperside, which vary in
extent from species to species - eloene
for example is yellowish with black margins,
aripa is white with a black apex, and
caesia is bluish with broad suffused blackish borders and a
diagonal blackish sub-apical band.
All Leptophobia are high altitude
species, and are variously distributed from Costa Rica to Bolivia
Leptophobia caesia is found from Costa
Rica to Ecuador. There are 4 subspecies.
This species is found in cloudforest, usually in the vicinity of
streams or rivers at elevations between about 1300-2000 metres.
I have no data regarding caesia but
other Leptophobia species are known to
use Capparidaceae, Brassicaceae and Tropaeolaceae as larval
foodplants. These plants contain mustard oils so it seems likely
that the larvae would be noxious to birds, and that these properties
are passed to the adult butterflies. The eggs are spindle-shaped,
yellowish in colour, and laid singly or in clusters of up to 20,
according to species. The caterpillars are green, sometimes with
blue or orange markings, and are slightly hairy. They live
gregariously in groups of mixed instars.
This species is
usually encountered in two's and three's in the vicinity of streams
and waterfalls. It flies in the mid-canopy but males sometimes descend
to imbibe mineralised moisture at the edge of streams.