Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
Machu Picchu, Peru ©
There are 1100 known species of Satyrinae in the neotropical region.
About 570 of these are placed in the
subtribe Pronophilina - a diverse group of high altitude cloudforest
butterflies, all of which are confined to the neotropical region.
The vast majority are found only in the Andes, but 4 species are
known from the Atlantic cloudforests of Brazil, and there are a
further 6 species that are endemic to Guatemala, Costa Rica or
Mexico. More oddly there is one genus Calisto
that is found exclusively on the Caribbean islands of Cuba and
Pedaliodes comprises of over 270 known
species, with new species being discovered at regular intervals as
their remote cloudforest habitats become more fully explored. No
less than 114 "new" Pedaliodes species
were discovered and described between 1999 and 2004 by Viloria,
Lamas, Pyrcz and other workers. The eventual total is expected to
exceed 600 species.
Pedaliodes are small to medium sized
butterflies. The vast majority have plain, blackish uppersides,
although several species e.g. peruda,
triaria are banded with orange. The undersides of all species
are brown or blackish, mottled with orange or white, and in some
species marbled or banded prominently with cream.
Some of the species are widespread but many are confined to remote
Andean peaks, isolated from their cogeners. Many are so similar that
identification cannot be determined without dissecting and
microscopically examining the genitalia, but
hopfferi is distinctive and easily recognised from either the
dorsal or ventral view.
occurs in southern Peru, and probably also in Bolivia.
Machu Picchu, Peru ©
all Pedaliodes species this is a
butterfly of the high Andes, found in stunted cloudforest, and
transitional cloudforest / puna or paramo grassland habitats. It can
occasionally be found as low as 2000m but is most frequently
encountered between about 2400-2800m.
I have no data specific to hopfferi. It
is likely however that the lifecycle is similar to that of other
Pedaliodes species as follows: The eggs
are white and globular with minute vertical striations. They are
laid singly or in pairs on the undersides of
Chusquea leaves. At sites where the butterflies breed in
severely disturbed areas, the larvae of some species i.e.
and palaepolis have been found on
Festuca and Poa
The caterpillars when small are pale green with whitish longitudinal
stripes along the back and sides. The head is brown with two bumps.
Final instar caterpillars are straw coloured, with a series of pale
and darker longitudinal stripes. The pupa is straw coloured, lightly
mottled or flecked with brown. It is suspended from stems or leaves.
Several days before eclosion the pupa becomes dark brown.
In common with other
Pedaliodes species this not a
active insect. It spends much of it's time sitting on rocks with wings
closed, taking advantage of the reflected warmth to raise it's body
temperature. The appearance of sunshine, even for a brief period,
causes the insect to fly a short distance to settle with wings
outspread on low growing foliage.
location and copulation, neither of which I have observed in this
species, probably take place in afternoon sunshine.