Subject: Ecuadorian beauty
Location: 3 hrs NW of Quito, Ecuador
February 2, 2017 12:21 pm
I read your site daily though I haven’t contributed for some time. This very small butterfly was photographed in Ecuador last month. I would love to know what it is.
We tried to determine the identity of this delicately pretty butterfly for some time, to no avail, however we strongly suspect it may be a Satyr in the subfamily Satyrinae because of the prominent eyespots visible on its wings. Though BugGuide only has images of North American species, you can see the similarities. Satyrs are often brown or muted in color, though the subfamily also includes the brilliantly colored Morphos that also have eyespots, but on the undersides of the wings. Most images of Satyrs online depict the butterflies at rest with wings folded and the undersides visible, which might be contributing to the difficulty we are having identifying your Ecuadorian beauty.
Correction Courtesy of Karl
Hello Daniel and Dwaine:
There are also quite a few neotropical metalmark butterflies (Riodinidae) that have prominent eyespots, usually on the forewings. This one looks a lot like a Lasus Metalmark (Perophthalma lasus). However, that species has a documented range that only goes as far south as Panama. The only species within this genus that is reported from Ecuador is the Tullius Metalmark (Perophthalma tullius), also quite similar. Regards, Karl