Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Mermeria Wood Nymph
Taygetis mermeria  CRAMER. 1776
subfamily - SATYRINAE
subtribe - EUPTYCHIINA

Taygetis mermeria, dry season form Adrian Hoskins
There are 1100 known species of Satyrinae in the neotropical region. About 400 of these are placed in the Euptychiina. Butterflies within this tribe include the "ringlet" genera Euptychia, Magneuptychia, Harjesia, Cissia, Caeruleuptychia, Magneuptychia, Harjesia 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.
The genus Taygetis contains 28 known species, although several more are likely to be discovered. They vary in wingspan between about 5-11cms, and are characterised by having dull brown wings, usually cryptically patterned on the underside so that they resemble dead leaves. Most species also have a series of prominent ocelli on the ventral surface.
All Taygetis species are seasonally dimorphic i.e. they produce distinct wet and dry season morphs. In mermeria the difference between the two forms is quite pronounced. The wet season morph is richly coloured in chocolate and olive, while the dry season form is a more unicolorous pale reddish brown, and is perfectly camouflaged at rest among the dead leaves of the dry season.
Taygetis mermeria is found throughout the neotropical region from Mexico to Bolivia.
Taygetis mermeria, wet season form, Adrian Hoskins
This species breeds in rainforest and cloudforest habitats which experience marked seasonality. It occurs at altitudes between 0-1800m.
I have no information specific to mermeria. The eggs of Taygetis species are smooth, globular and laid singly on or close to the foodplants. The caterpillars are typically Satyrine in appearance, with smooth bodies pale green marked with thin longitudinal lines, a pair of short tail prongs and a pair of matching horns projecting forward from the head capsule. They feed solitarily on either grasses or bamboos according to species. The pupae are typically pale green, and have a bifid head and a curved abdomen.
Adult behaviour

Like all other Taygetis species, this butterfly is a denizen of the dark undergrowth, and flies mainly in the early mornings, between about 0800-0900hrs. At other times it usually hides away amongst the rootlets of palms or amongst leaf litter around the base of trees. The adults fly only very short distances, rarely more than 2-3 metres at a time, and always close to the ground. Both sexes visit rotting fruits, decomposing fungi and bird-droppings on the forest floor. Taygetis mermeria is often found in an exceedingly worn condition and is known to live for several weeks, and possibly for as long as 9 months.



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