the Amazon rainforest
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
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 species. The undersides of all species in the Anaeini
are cryptically patterned in mottled brown tones, and bear a very strong
resemblance to dead leaves.
includes 60 species, all restricted to the neotropical region. The forewings
of all species have a falcate apex, and a concave dorsum. In many
species the tornus of the forewing is very strongly hooked.
Males of all Memphis
species are black, with extensive metallic blue or turquoise scaling over the
basal half of the wings, and usually with additional blue spots or bands in the
subapical area. Females are generally very similar, but usually a different
shade of blue-green than their male counterparts, and often have short tails on
the hindwings. Some males also have short tails, but the majority of species
have un-tailed males. A few species have additional orange or red markings -
e.g. the male of Memphis anna
has a red patch in the subapical area, and the females of anna
have orange subapical bands on the forewings.
praxias is a scarce
species found in
eastern Ecuador and Peru.
This is a lowland rainforest species found at elevations between about 200-800m
in the foothills of the Andes.
I can find no data
relating specifically to Memphis praxias,
but the following account describes the lifecycle of a typical Memphis
The eggs are smooth,
globular, and laid singly on leaves of the foodplants, which according to
species include Piperaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Lauraceae, Monimaceae and Annonaceae.
are cylindrical, tapering towards the bifid tail, and covered with tiny
granulations or very short bristles. They are typically green or brown, marked
with a series of fine longitudinal lines. The head is large, and bears a crown
of short pointed tubercles. When small, the caterpillars make frass-chains (
chains of dried droppings ) on the tips of leaves.
When older they live within leaf tubes made from rolled up leaves bound together
with silk, and only emerge when feeding.
chrysalis of all species is stocky and barrel-shaped, with a very large thoracic
section, and highly compressed abdominal segments. It is typically green or
brownish, lightly marbled, and is suspended by the cremaster from a leaf or
praxias praxias, Manu Biosphere Reserve, Peru
Memphis species this butterfly is
to rotting fruit lying on the forest floor. Often several
of various species will gather to feed at a favoured spot,
jostling for position, deeply probing into the fruit with their
proboscises. They also feed at dung, and occasionally at carrion.
The wings are normally kept
tightly closed when feeding, but if disturbed the butterflies will
usually fly up to settle on nearby foliage at a height of about 2
or 3 metres. At these times the wings are held shut or partially
open. After a short period, when they feel it is safe to return to
the feeding spot, they descend to settle momentarily on low
foliage, and eventually on the forest floor, at which time, if the
sunlight is dappled or weak, they will briefly open their wings to
display the glorious uppersides.