Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - PIERIDAE
male, Catarata de Tirol, La Merced, Peru ©
The subfamily Dismorphiinae includes the Wood
Whites of Europe, and about 50 neotropical species.
Features common to all Dismorphiine genera include tapered and
down-curved antennae, long thin abdomens, elongated forewings and
hindwings that are noticeably larger in area than the forewings.
several Dismorphiine genera sexual dimorphism is pronounced, with
females looking like typical Pierids, while the males are patterned
in orange and black, and resemble tiger complex Ithomiines. The
naturalist Henry Bates upon observing this phenomenon realised that
the palatable males had evolved to become mimics of toxic
Ithomiines. His discovery is now known as Batesian mimicry.
There are 3 species in the genus
orise and rhetes.
all formerly placed in the genus Dismorphia.
In Patia the colour and pattern of both
sexes are similar, but the apex of the hindwing is very angular in
males, whereas in females it is rounded.
Patia orise occurs
as 2 distinct subspecies. P. orise denigrata
occurs from Costa Rica to Peru and is a mimic of the orange
and black tiger-complex Ithomiines.
P. orise orise is
found from Guyana to Bolivia. It is a superb mimic of the
Methona glasswings. The wing pattern
and colour is almost identical, the black abdomen has the familiar
Methona-like white spots, and even the
antennae are "copied" - having black shafts and prominent yellow
clubs. The 2 genera can easily be distinguished however because
Patia have much larger hindwings, and
have 6 legs as opposed to the 4 legs found in
Methona and other Ithomiinae.
This species is found in primary rainforest at altitudes between
The early stages are unknown.
Males are usually encountered
singly, sitting on stems or leaves between about 2-3 metres above
ground level, and usually in dappled sunlight. Occasionally they can
also be seen in more open situations in forest glades. The butterflies
nectar at Inga.
male, Rio Shima, Satipo, Peru ©