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Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Silky Wanderer
Leptophobia eleone  DOUBLEDAY, 1847
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - PIERINAE

Leptophobia eleone, Manu cloudforest, 1700m, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
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 ) and are as yet unnamed.
Most Leptophobia species have a white or creamy ground colour but a few including the typical form of eleone are bright primrose yellow. The pale cream form of eleone illustrated here is unusual. All Leptophobia species have black markings on the upperside but these vary in extent from species to species. The underside hindwings are yellow in caesia, bright reflective silver in penthica, dull brown in cinerea, and a silky greenish white in eleone.
All Leptophobia are high altitude species, and are variously distributed from Costa Rica to Bolivia and Argentina. Leptophobia eleone is found from Colombia to Bolivia.
Habitats
This is a cloudforest species found in the vicinity of streams and small rivers at altitudes of between about 1000-2400 metres. The butterflies fly throughout the year.

Leptophobia eleone, Manu cloudforest, 1700m, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Lifecycle
I have no data regarding eleone, 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 transmitted to the adult butterflies.
The eggs are spindle-shaped, yellowish in colour, and laid either 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. It is interesting also to note that according to DeVries the larvae are able to walk on the surface film of water.
Adult behaviour

The butterflies are usually encountered singly in the vicinity of streams and waterfalls. They fly low over the ground with a rapid erratic zigzag flight. Males imbibe mineralised moisture from seepages, road surfaces and the shores of shallow streams.

Both sexes visit Lantana, Impatiens, Nasturtium and various other flowers for nectar.

 

 

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