Butterflies of the
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
courtesy © Peter Bruce-Jones )
There are 42
species in the genus Calisto, of
which 1 is found on Jamaica, 1 on Puerto Rico, 1 on the British
Virgin Islands, and 2 on Cuba ( which both also occur in the
Bahamas ). The
remaining 37 species are endemic to Haiti / Dominican Republic.
Calisto is the only Satyrine genus
occuring in the West Indies.
wing surface of all species is dark earthy brown, and devoid of
markings, although the sex brands ( androconia ) of males differs
in shape from species to species. On the underside some species
such as chrysaoros are strikingly
marked with irregular bands of cream or white, while others such
as herophile have dark bands, and a large ocellus on
are currently classified under the subtribe Pronophilina - a large
group of largely high elevation species from Central and South
America. Recent DNA evidence however suggests that
Calisto are more likely to be allied
to Palaearctic taxa.
is a native of Cuba, including Isla de la Juventud. There are 3
Cuban subspecies - herophile, which
occurs in the lowlands; bruneri from
eastern Cuba; and parsonsi from the
Sierra del Escambray at 500-1000m altitude.
The only other
Calisto species found in Cuba is
sibylla, which also occurs as 3 subspecies, listed by Lamas
muripetens and smintheus. It
is a woodland species found chiefly at elevations above 1000m.
It should be
noted that Hernandez, an authority on Cuban butterflies, regards
smintheus as a full species, endemic
to Cuba. He names muripetens,
bradleyi, and also
and israeli as colour forms of
sibylla also occur on the Bahamas, as subspecies
C. herophile apollinis, and
C. sibylla sibylla. The Bahamas also
hold a third species C. anegadensis.
Calisto herophile is a very common
and widespread species
found at elevations between sea level and about 1200m. It occurs
in a variety of habitats including open deciduous woodland,
scrubby grassland, hedgerows, thickets and overgrown gardens
The egg is
globular, with a fine raised reticulation forming minute
polygonal areas. It is whitish when first laid but develops
tawny-olive markings after a day or two.
is very pale greyish brown, with wide dorsal and narrow
paradorsal dark lines. It has a granular texture, and is
covered in short hairs. It feeds on various grass species
including maize and sugar cane.
are active both in sunshine and shade, flying slowly, weaving
between low growing plants, and often remaining on the wing for
long periods without settling. They commonly nectar at a variety
of flowers including Bidens,