Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - COLIADINAE
© Tony Hoare
12 species which are currently placed in the genus
Pyrisitia were originally included
within the pan-tropical genus Eurema.
These smallish butterflies are characterised by
having yellow, orange or white uppersides, with dark apical
markings. The forewings have a strongly curved costa, and in most
species have a squarish apex. The hindwings are rounded in most
species, but are projected to a point in
proterpia, and in the related Eurema
xantochlora, arbela and
Pyrisitia proterpia is found from the southern states of the
USA to Peru, and on the islands of Cuba, Jamaica and Hispaniola in
the Caribbean Sea.
© Tony Hoare
This species can be found in disturbed open grassy habitats
including forest clearings, roadsides and riverbanks at elevations
between sea level and about 1200m.
The larval foodplant is Desmodium (
are usually encountered in two's or three's, imbibing dissolved
minerals from damp ground at the edge of ditches or roadside banks in
lightly forested areas.
Females are often seen
nectaring at flowers along roadsides and riverbanks, or exploring
sunny wood edge habitats in search of egg-laying sites. In the north
of its range the butterfly is more abundant at the beginning of the
rainy season when nectar sources are prolific; but in Amazonia it is
commoner in the dry season.
The flight is fluttery but fairly
rapid, and close to the ground.