Mexico, USA & Canada
Siderone galanthis CRAMER,
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - CHARAXINAE
Tribe - ANAEINI
tribe Anaeini comprises of 87 neotropical species in the genera
The butterflies are characterised by having a very rapid and strong
flight. They have stout bodies, falcate wings, and on the upper
surface are generally black, marked with bands of orange, bright
red, or lustrous blue according to genus and species. The undersides
of all Anaeini are cryptically patterned in mottled brown tones, and
bear a very strong resemblance to dead leaves.
There are only 2 known species in the genus
Siderone, namely syntyche and
galanthis. Both are black on the
upperside, with bright scarlet markings. The outer scarlet band is
absent in syntyche, which also has a
smaller scarlet area at the base of the wings.
Siderone galanthis is distributed from
Mexico to southern Brazil, and also occurs in the Caribbean on Cuba,
the Dominican Republic, and Trinidad.
This species is found in deciduous and evergreen forests at
altitudes between 0-900m.
The eggs are
smooth and white. They are laid singly on leaves of the larval
foodplants Casearia and
Zuelania ( Flacourtiaceae ). Small
plants along forest edges are usually chosen for oviposition.
grown larva is dark brown, marked along the back with suffused
chevrons and blotches. It has a strange lip-shaped thoracic hump,
and its head is adorned with a pair of thick knobbed horns. It
constructs a "frass chain" - a structure made from silk threads and
its own droppings - and rests upon this when not feeding.
The chrysalis is described by DeVries as being "green with dark
areas near the spiracles and edges of wingpads". It is squat in
shape, with indented wingpads and compressed abdominal segments, and
is suspended by a stout cremaster from a stem or leaf.
are usually found singly, imbibing mineralised moisture from
the ground on
forest tracks or at tapir licks, peccary wallows, dry river beds or
other semi-shaded habitats. They tend to walk about on the ground
fanning their wings, displaying the vivid scarlet bands on the upper
wings. I have also seen them resting with wings half open on foliage
and on tree trunks at a height of about 4 metres.
bright red bands on the upperside probably also function as a form of
flash-colouration. When seen in flight the butterfly is highly visible
to birds, but if pursued it
lands and snaps its wings shut so that only the dead-leaf underside is
visible. The bird still keeps searching for a bright red butterfly,
but the "now you see me, now you don't" alternation between the
brilliant upperside and sombre underside confuses it, foiling its
search pattern. This survival strategy however is not always effective
- in Costa Rica e.g. I have on more than one occasion found detached
wings of this species on the forest floor, where birds have eaten the
body and discarded the wings.