Location: Platanillo, Costa Rica
May 11, 2012
Folks: … I have also attached a pic of a stunning butterfly, which I took about a month ago.
Thanks so much for peaking my interest in these fascinating creatures. I love being in Costa Rica – I am a native Texan, and the butterflies in Dallas don’t hold a candle to the moths here. Keep up the great work!
Hi again Paula,
We tried to search the web for Brush Footed Butterflies from Costa Rica and eventually found a matching image on the Butterfly Farm website that was identified as Adelpha fesonia. Subsequent searches of that name produced a similar but different butterfly, so we tried to search by genus and location only. That produced a match on Butterflies of America to Adelpha cytherea, the Cytherea Sister. The subspecies Adelpha cytherea marcia ranges from Southern Mexico through Eastern Costa Rica according the the Butterflies of America. We don’t know how to differentiate the subspecies, but Butterflies of America states that Adelpha cytherea daguana ranges from eastern Costa Rica to northwest Venezuela and western Ecuador. Interestingly, most live specimens on the Butterflies of America site are from Columbia, which is outside the stated range. The Learn about Butterflies website states: “Adelpha butterflies are colloquially known as “Sisters”. In terms of appearance they are reminiscent of the White Admirals ( Limenitis ) of Eurasia, and share with them a fondness for flitting gracefully around the lower branches of trees in the dappled sunlight of the forest. There are 85 known species of Adelpha, all except one of which are confined to Central and South America. They are characterised by the distinctive black marbled pattern overlaid on a dark brown ground colour; and by having a broad orange or white band on the forewings. In the vast majority of species this band also extends vertically down to the tornus of the hindwings. While it is easy to recognise the genus, determining the individual species can sometimes be very difficult – a problem exacerbated by misidentified museum specimens and mislabelled illustrations in many entomological books. The only reliable identification resource is “The genus Adelpha” by Keith Willmott. Accurate identification requires meticulous examination of the configuration of the orange markings in the subapical area on the forewing, and of the precise shape of the vertical bands. It is also essential in most cases to examine the patterning on the underside. Adelpha cytherea is a very common species, widely distributed throughout tropical and subtropical areas of Central and South America.” BugGuide recognizes four North American species, including the California Sister, Adelpha californica, and BugGuide explains the data discrepancy regarding the North Armerican species with this statement: “There are 3 closely related populations of Sisters that have until recently been treated as subspecies of one species – Adelpha bredowii. Most now consider these to represent three distinct species, though the question is still debated.”