Home

 

 
Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Quintina Glasswing
Oleria quintina  FELDER & FELDER, 1865
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - DANAINAE
Tribe - ITHOMIINI
subtribe - OLERIINI
Oleria quintina, Madre de Dios, Peru © Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The Ithomiini comprises of 376 known species, although it is likely that at least another 30 will be discovered in the near future. All are confined to the neotropical region. Ithomiines are unpalatable to birds, and are consequently mimicked in appearance by many other species. These include other unpalatable species ( Müllerian mimics ), not only from the Ithomiinae but also from several other butterfly families. There are also a large number of edible species ( Batesian mimics ) which have evolved similar patterns. Birds have the ability to memorise butterfly patterns and so learn to avoid eating noxious species, but are also fooled into ignoring similarly marked edible species.
Ithomiines are characterised by having small eyes, slender abdomens and long drooping antennae that lack distinct clubs. Males have a plume of long androconial scales or "hair pencils" on the costa of their hindwings. These are hidden from view when the butterflies are at rest, but are displayed when the wings are held open during courtship. Other Ithomiine characteristics include a very slow and deep wing beat, and a preference for inhabiting the darkest recesses of the forest understorey.
There are basically 2 types of Ithomiine. The first type are the black and orange-banded "tigers", many of which are mimicked by other species due to their unpalatability to birds. The second type are the "glasswings", recognised by their transparent or translucent wings, prominent veins, and orange wing margins. Many genera contain examples of both of these types, and in some cases an individual species may produce adults of both forms according to location.
Most novices find the Ithomiini very difficult to identify. Using only the patterns to identify species is very unreliable because there are so many similar species. Also many species produce a variety of different colour forms according to locality and season. The best approach therefore is to use the hindwing venation and other anatomical features to identify the genus, and to then look at the wing patterns to short-list the likely species. 
The genus Oleria comprises of about 50 known species, characterised by the distinctive venation of the hindwings. The various species have transparent or translucent wings, marked on the upperside with a suffused white subapical bar, blackish borders and a black diagonal bar. The dark markings are repeated on the underside in orange, edged with black. In some species the markings can be narrow and clearly defined, but in others they are suffused and much more extensive.
Oleria quintina can be easily confused with other members of the genus, particularly with didymaea and victorine. The insect illustrated above was kindly identified by Ithomiine expert Keith Willmott as quintina. It occurs from Venezuela to Peru.
Habitats
This species is associated primarily with wet tropical rainforest habitats, and is most commonly found in the vicinity of rivers or streams, at altitudes between 200-1800m.
Lifecycle
I have no data specific to quintina but the following generalisations can be regarded as applicable to the genus Oleria : The eggs are white. They are laid singly although several may be dotted about on one plant by any particular female. The larvae are dull greyish-green, with a wrinkled texture, and have small shiny black heads. They feed on Solanum or Lycianthes ( Solanaceae ). The pupae are usually pale green, unmarked, and have compressed abdominal segments and a dorsal hump.
Adult behaviour

Like other Ithomiines, the butterflies spend long periods at rest on the foliage of small shrubs in the darkness of their rainforest and cloudforest habitats. They are extremely nervous, and if disturbed fly immediately, only to resettle on another nearby leaf. The flight is very slow, with characteristic deep wing beats. When feeding in the open they behave very differently - both sexes being very placid and reluctant to leave their flowers.

Males sequester pyrrolizidine alkaloids from Heliotropium, Tournefourtia, Myosotis ( Boraginaceae ), Eupatorium, Neomiranda and Senecio ( Asteraceae ). These chemicals confer toxic qualities to the butterflies which deter bird attacks. The chemicals are also used in the production of pheromones. Often the males of several Ithomiine species will gather together at communal leks, where they release these pheromones from hair-like androconial scales on the leading edge of their upperside hindwings. These attract more males, which in turn release further pheromones. After a few days the lek may include 50 or more adults comprised of as many as dozen different species. Passing females are attracted to the leks by the complex fragrances. Their presence stimulates the males to open their wings and release further pheromones that entice them into copulation. Females obtain sustenance from nectar, and also visit bird droppings which provide them with a source of nitrogen that assists with the development of their eggs.

 

 

Contact  /  About me

Butterfly-watching holidays

Trip reports

UK latest sightings

Frequently asked questions

Strange but true !

Taxonomy & Evolution

Anatomy

Lifecycle

Enemies of butterflies

Survival strategies

Migration & dispersal

Habitats - UK / Palaearctic

Habitats - Tropical rainforests

Butterfly world census

Butterflies of the World :

British Isles

Europe

Amazon & Andes

North America

temperate Asia

Africa

Indian subcontinent

Malaysia & Borneo

Papua New Guinea

Australia & N.Z.

Insects of Britain & Europe

Insects of Amazonia

Moths of the Andes

Saturniidae - Silkmoths

Caterpillars of the World

Butterfly Photography

Recommended Books

Glossary

Links

Code of practice

Copyright - text & images

Copyright - text & images

X

X

X

X

 

All photographs, artwork, text & website design are the property of Adrian Hoskins ( unless otherwise stated ) and are protected by Copyright. Photographs or text on this website must not be reproduced in part or in whole or published elsewhere without prior written consent of Adrian Hoskins / learnaboutbutterflies.com

Site hosted by Just Host