Mexico, USA & Canada
Mermeria Wood Nymph
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
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
Magneuptychia, Harjesia etc;
together with Oressinoma and the
various "wood nymph" genera i.e. Parataygetis,
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
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.
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
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.
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
is often found in an exceedingly worn condition and is known to live
for several weeks, and possibly for as long as 9 months.