Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
Tribe - PYRGINI
Staphylus minor minor
, Satipo, Peru ©
Pyrginae, popularly known as Flats or Spreadwings, are a
cosmopolitan subfamily distributed across temperate and tropical
habitats throughout the world. In the Americas there are 990
About 580 species are placed within the tribe
The genera Bolla and
Staphylus include a combined total of
82 small dark species with a similar wing shape and an obscure
pattern of lighter markings, and often a peppering of grey or
yellowish scales. Most, but not all species, also have a
series of between 1-6 small hyaline apical spots. In some species
including Bolla cupreiceps,
Staphylus vulgata and
S. ceos the head and palpi are covered
in metallic golden or yellow scales.
There are 55 species
in the genus Staphylus, variously
distributed from Mexico to Paraguay. The illustrated species
Staphylus minor is quite rare, and
restricted to the eastern Andes. There are 2 subspecies -
manx which occurs in Colombia, and
minor which occurs from Ecuador to
Bolivia and northern Argentina.
This is a cloudforest species, occuring at altitudes between about
400-1500m on the eastern slopes of the Andes.
The lifecycle appears to be unrecorded. Generally, Pyrgine
butterflies lay their eggs singly on either the upperside or
underside of leaves. The caterpillars are typically dull green or
brownish, with thin longitudinal lines along the back and sides, and
with black shiny heads. They feed typically on low growing
herbaceous plants, but some feed on the leaves of bushes or trees.
The pupae are usually dark and smooth, with the wing cases in a
contrasting tone or colour. They are normally formed within silken
tents formed by spinning together the leaves of the foodplant.
are usually encountered singly, and normally seen basking with wings
outspread on low foliage.