Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Tres Cruces Skipper
FELDER & FELDER,
Family - HESPERIIDAE
Tres Cruces, Manu puna, 3000m, Peru ©
are 1237 described species of Hesperiine ( grass-feeding skippers )
in the neotropical region, and probably at least another 100 still
of the species follow the basic "Hesperia" pattern - a dark chestnut
ground colour with an orange or yellow bar stretching from midway
along the dorsum towards the apex, and a broad streak of the same
colour stretching from the wing base along the costa. Examples of
genera with this pattern include Anthoptus,
and Synapte. The patterns are
sufficiently different from one another to make identification to
genus relatively easy, but often it is very difficult to distinguish
between individual species.
The most obvious
features that distinguish Serdis from
the other genera are the black-tipped antennae, and the size of the
butterflies - at about 5cms wingspan they are decidedly larger than
any of the other similar genera.
contains 3 species - statius,
viridicans. The 3 spots near the apex of the forewing are
white in venezuelae and
viridicans, but yellow in
Serdis viridicans is restricted to the
high Andes of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
This species breeds on the high paramo and puna grasslands of the
Andes, at altitudes between about 2500-3200m. These grasslands are
only found above the tree-line, and at most times of the year are
above the cloud layer.
I have no
data relating to any Serdis species,
but in common with other Hesperiines it is almost certain that the
larval foodplants are grasses.
The butterflies are usually
encountered as singletons, basking on rocks or nectaring at flowers
along the roadsides of Andean mountain passes.