Butterflies of the Amazon and Andes
Galaxy Satyr
Pedaliodes phrasicla HEWITSON, 1874
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Pedaliodes phrasicla galaxias Tatama NP, Colombia  Adrian Hoskins
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 Hispaniola.
The genus 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, praxithea and triaria are banded with orange. The undersides of all species are brown or blackish, mottled with cream or white, and in some species marbled or banded prominently with cream.
Pedaliodes phrasicla ( not to be confused with the closely related phrasiclea ) occurs from Colombia to Bolivia.
Pedaliodes phrasicla galaxias Tatama NP, Colombia  Adrian Hoskins
Like 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 1400m but is most frequently encountered between about 2400-2700m.
Pedaliodes phrasicla galaxias Tatama NP, Colombia  Adrian Hoskins
I have no data specific to phrasicla. 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. manis, plotina and palaepolis have been found on Festuca and Poa grasses.
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.
Adult behaviour

I have on several occasions observed Pedaliodes species feeding at carrion, as with mixed groups of Pedaliodes, Lymanopoda, Junea and other Pronophilines imbibing bodily fluids from a snake corpse in Ecuador. More usually they are seen imbibing mineralised water from ditches and gullies beside unmade roads in cloudforest habitats.

In common with other Pedaliodes species this not a particularly 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.

Pedaliodes phrasicla galaxias Tatama NP, Colombia  Adrian Hoskins



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