the Amazon rainforest
Family - PIERIDAE
Tribe - PIERINI
Aphrissa statira, male, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru
The 8 species in the genus
are neotropical in distribution.
On the upperside the male of
statira is deep
yellow at the base of the wings, with the outer third of both wings a very much
paler greenish yellow. The female is a unicolorous lemon yellow, with a black
spot in the fw discal cell, black wing margins and black apex.
The closely related species
A. boisduvalii often shares it's habitats with
statira, but can be distinguished by it's much
paler colouration in both sexes.
is by far the commonest and most widely distributed species, found from Florida
This species is usually seen along riverbanks and other open habitats at
altitudes between sea level and about 1200 metres.
The eggs are laid singly
on the leaves of the larval foodplants.
The caterpillars use a variety of
hostplants including Cassia,
Dalbergia and Entada ( Leguminosae ),
Callichamys ( Bignoniaceae ) and
Calliandra ( Mimosaceae ). DeVries considers that
there may be two separate species under the name statira,
as there are 2 larval forms which use host plants. The form which feeds
on Leguminosae is orange, tinged with greenish, and has a dark bluish band below
the spiracles, and an orange head. The form that feeds on Bignoniaceae has a
green head and a pale green body with a thin yellow lateral stripe.
The chrysalis ( Jamaican form )
varies in colour from grey to pale bluish-green, and has a thin reddish line
along the back and a cream lateral line.
The butterfly is strongly
migratory in behaviour, flying upriver in the latter part of the
dry season, and downriver towards the sea in the wet season. It
often continues out onto the open sea and colonises islands e.g.
in the Antilles.
Males are usually found in
groups, imbibing moisture from damp sand on riverbanks. Sometimes
these groups are tightly packed, with up to 100 butterflies
clustered together occupying a square foot or less of ground. It
is more common however to find the butterflies intermingled amongst mixed
aggregations of Rhabdodryas, Phoebis,
Protesilaus and other
predominantly white or pale yellow species.
Females do not visit sandbanks, but can be seen nectaring at
flowers, and are particularly attracted to red or orange flowers
such as Lantana.