Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - RIODINIDAE
subfamily - RIODININAE
Tribe - MESOSEMIINI
female, Manu cloudforest, 1700m, Peru ©
There are 1324 known species of Riodinidae in the neotropical
region, 121 of which are placed in the genus
Mesosemia, and a further 8 in the closely related
Butterflies of both genera are commonly known as Eyemarks, due to
the prominent ocelli located in the discal cell of the forewings.
All Mesosemia and
Semomesia species are sexually dimorphic. The males of many
are metallic blue, marked with fine black lines and a black apex,
while their females are typically dark brown, and often marked with
prominent white bands. In most species there is a series of fine
wavy black submarginal lines on the hindwings. In both sexes the
underside pattern is similar to that of the upperside, but paler and
In zorea the male has a very dark
metallic blue ground colour, while the female is an earthy brown.
occurs in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
This species is found in undisturbed rainforest and cloudforest at
altitudes from about 800-2000m.
I have no data regarding zorea but the
lifecycle is likely to be similar to that of other
Mesosemia species as follows: The eggs
are white and laid singly on stems or on the undersides of leaves.
The foodplants include Psychotria,
Cephalanthus and other understorey
Rubiaceae. The larvae are dull green, plump and slightly flattened.
They have a series of flattened lateral lobes below the spiracles,
and tufts of short stiff setae on the back and sides.
Males are usually seen singly, but
sometimes several can be found flying together in places where trees
have fallen and created small light gaps in the forest. The
butterflies have a rapid and erratic flight. They settle frequently on
the uppersides of leaves. After landing they immediately proceed to
walk about over the leaf, always holding their wings half open. As
they walk they constantly change direction, and move with a jerky
robotic or "clockwork toy" movement. In cloudy or rainy weather they
rest beneath the lower leaves of bushes or saplings.