Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
male, Sichuan, China
© Tony Hoare
Lethe is composed of 112 species, most
of which are found in temperate forests in Asia, although there is
one species endemic to Sulawesi, another endemic to Java. Several of
the species are very localised, being confined to the forests of
particular mountains, but others are widespread. The commonest and
most widely distributed species is rohria,
which is found from Afghanistan to China, and south to Java, Bali
Lethe species typically have sombre
earthy brown uppersides, although a few such as
europa have prominent white diagonal
bands on their forewings; while others such as
sinorix have a series of dark ocelli on the hindwings, set
within a band of suffused orange. The undersides are usually more
strongly marked than the upper surface, and feature a series of 7
prominent submarginal ocelli, of which the first ( uppermost ) and
fifth are usually significantly larger than the others.
Lethe species have a dense layer of
fine bristles on their compound eyes.
Sri Lanka, Borneo and Malaysia indicate that males are strongly
attracted to wet faeces and spend long periods probing into it. It
seems possible that the bristles may function in much the same way
as a cat's whiskers, acting as tactile sensors to warn the butterfly
if their heads get too close to the dung, which would blind them
permanently if it stuck to the surface of the eyes.
Lethe insana is a common species found in
India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and the provinces
of Sichuan and Yunnan in China.
This species is found in forests and forest-edge habitats at
elevations between about 500-1500m.
are attracted to dung, at which times they feed voraciously. Females
are more commonly seen in glades and forest-edge habitats, resting on
female, Sichuan, China
© Andrew Neild