Butterflies of Mexico,
USA & Canada
CONSTANTINI & HALL, 2001
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - COEINI
© Adrian Hoskins
The tribe Coeini comprises 6 genera -
There are 2 Colobura species -dirce
both found throughout the neotropical region.
Colobura annulata can be distinguished
from dirce by the much narrower
submarginal band on it's underside forewing, and by the slightly
different sub-costal markings. It was separated from
dirce only in 2001, and is much less
common than that species.
The butterflies habitually sit on the tree trunks in a head
downwards posture, at a height of about 2 metres, to imbibe sap and
moisture from crevices in the bark. If approached they sometimes try
to evade the intruder by running around to the opposite side of the
tree, and if followed will run back to their original position -
quite literally forcing the observer to run around in circles after
them. They are extremely reluctant to take flight when feeding, and
if they are forced to do so they quickly return to resume feeding.
Colobura annulata is distributed from
Mexico to Bolivia.
The butterfly breeds in primary and secondary forest at altitudes
between about 200-1500m.
is unknown but is probably very similar to that of
Colobura dirce given below:
The eggs are
white and laid in groups of between 2-10 on leaves of the foodplant.
The young larvae feed on
leaves and make "frass chains" i.e. chains of droppings linked
together by strands of silk, which protrude from the edges of the
leaves. When not feeding they rest on these frass chains, which
provide them with a defence against marauding ants. For reasons that
are not fully understood, ants seem unwilling to walk over frass
chains. The fully grown larvae are velvety black and adorned with
white rosetted spines along the back, and yellow spines along the
sides. They live and feed gregariously in groups of between 5 and
20. When feeding they bite through the stems, causing alleochemics (
anti-herbivore juices ) to bleed from the plant, stopping it from
mobilising chemicals into the area being eaten.
pupa, as described by DeVries in "Butterflies of Costa Rica", is
elongate, cylindrical, and looks like a dead broken twig.
commonly visit orchards or other sites where there are fallen fruits.
They are also sometimes seen visiting sandbanks or damp soil. At
these times they tend to walk about while probing for moisture, often
fanning their wings slowly as they do so.