Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - BIBLIDINAE
Tribe - CALLICORINI
subtribe - CALLICORINA
Perisama oppelii oppelii, male, Tatama
NP, Colombia ©
The Biblidinae are recognised by their diverse but simple and
colourful patterns. In the neotropics their representatives include
the Callicorina - a subtribe of small-medium sized butterflies,
marked on the uppersides with bands of metallic blue or green. The
Callicorina includes the genus Diaethria,
instantly recognised by the 88 or 89 markings on the undersides, and
Perisama which are similar on the
uppersides but have plain undersides marked only with dots and wavy
Perisama comprises 32 known species. They are medium-sized
butterflies with blackish uppersides, marked with diagonal bands of
turquoise or green on the forewings. Many species also have a band
of the same colour around the hindwing margins.
Perisama species are found mostly in
the Andean cloudforests at altitudes between 1200-2400m, although
one or two species including xanthica
occur at lower altitudes.
oppelii can be confused with comnena,
which is similar on the underside. In comnena
it is pale primrose yellow, and the black lines are wavier
and more widely spaced.
occurs as 10 named subspecies distributed from Colombia and
Venezuela to Bolivia and Argentina. The Peruvian subspecies
xanthica, which is bright yellow on the
underside, is considered by some authorities to be worthy of full
species status, and is treated on a separate page on this website.
This species is found on the eastern slope of the Andes, at
elevations between about 400-1800m.
The lifecycle of this and most other
species appears to be unknown.
other Perisama species, the butterflies
spend the early mornings and late afternoons settled high in the
trees, but become very active in mid-morning, dashing back and forth
between the tree tops and the surface of the ground. In warm overcast
weather they commonly bask on paths and road surfaces, with their
wings fully outspread.
species is normally seen singly, when imbibing mineralised moisture
from seepages, boulders, sandy riverbanks etc. The butterflies are
strongly attracted to urine-soaked ground.
Perisama oppelii oppelii, Tatama NP, Colombia ©