Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
© 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 the largest.
species have a dense layer of fine bristles on their compound eyes.
My observations of
various species in Sri Lanka, Borneo and Malaysia indicate that the
adults are strongly attracted to wet dung, and spend long periods
probing into it. At these times their heads push deep into the dung.
It seems possible therefore 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 violaceopicta is found in Tibet and
To be completed.