Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - RIODINIDAE
subfamily - RIODININAE
Tribe - RIODININI
Melanis electron pronostriga, Santa Fe de Antioquoia,
The name Melanis refers to the melanic
pigment of the black scales which cover the distinctively shaped
wings of all members of this genus. Many
Melanis species are marked with orange borders on the
hindwings, and / or similarly coloured diagonal bands on the
forewings. In some species the apex of the forewings is orange, and
in others there are large red spots near the base of the wings.
There are 27 known members in the genus. One particularly attractive
species, M. pixe, has a range extending
from Mexico to Panama, but the majority of species are found in the
Andes mountains, or in the Amazonian lowlands.
Melanis electron occurs as 7 named
subspecies found variously from Belize to Peru and Brazil.
This butterfly is found in forested habitats at elevations between
Melanis larvae are hairy, and feed
gregariously on the leaves of trees in the family Leguminosae. The
pupae are said to be formed in clusters on tree trunks.
The butterflies have a slow fluttery flight typical of aposematic
species, drifting gracefully above the vegetation at a height of about
1-2m above ground level. Males can sometimes be found imbibing
mineralised moisture from damp ground, or feeding at carrion.