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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Nabokov's Satyr
Cyllopsis pyracmon  BUTLER, 1867
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
subtribe - EUPTYCHIINA
Cyllopsis pyracmon henshawi, Arizona, USA Tony Hoare
Introduction
There are 1100 known species of Satyrinae in the Americas. About 400 of these are placed in the Euptychiina. Butterflies within this tribe include the "ringlet" genera Euptychia, Caeruleuptychia, Magneuptychia, Harjesia, Cissia, Cepheuptychia, Cyllopsis etc; together with Oressinoma and the various "wood nymph" genera i.e. Parataygetis, Posttaygetis and Taygetis. Most are inhabitants of the forest understorey and tend to fly close to the ground. They generally avoid sunlight and prefer to fly at dawn or on cloudy days when light levels and temperatures are low.
There are 29 known Cyllopsis species. The genus is centred on Mexico, but some species are found as far south as Panama, and 3 - gemma, pertepida and pyracmon reach the USA. The majority of species are earthy brown on the upperside, and similar to pyracmon on the underside. There are however a few notable exceptions e.g. philodice and nelsoni have a prominent white band across their underside hindwings, dospassosi has a marbled underside, clinas and whiteorum have angular forewings and scalloped hindwings; and emilia is silvery-white on the upperside with a black apex.
Cyllopsis pyracmon is found in New Mexico and Arizona in the USA, and in Mexico and Guatemala.
Habitats
This species inhabits deciduous woodland at altitudes between about 200-400m.
Lifecycle
The larvae is thin and has long caudal prongs, and a pair of long forward projecting head horns. It occurs in two morphs: either pale green or pale straw coloured. Both forms have prominent pale yellowish lateral stripes and a series of thin pale dorsal stripes; and are well camouflaged on the Muhlenbergia grasses on which they feed. The pupa is pale green with a prominent thoracic keel, and is suspended by the cremaster from a stem of the foodplant or nearby herbage.
Adult behaviour

The butterflies inhabit the understorey, and are usually encountered at light gaps where dappled sunlight filters down to ground level.

 

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