Currently viewing the category: "Metalmarks"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Costa Rican Black with blue butterfly
Location: north east Costa Rica
October 7, 2015 10:58 am
I can’t identify this beautiful butterfly (moth?) I saw near the Braulio Carrillo National Park in Costa Rica. Help?
Signature: Maroland

Lyra Metalmark


Dear Maroland,
We believe we have correctly identified your lovely butterfly as a Lyra Metalmark,
Lyropteryx lyra cleadas, or a closely related species, thanks to the Butterflies of America website.  There are also some nice images on the Neotropical Butterflies site.

Hi Daniel and Maroland:
I believe it may be a similar metalmark, the White-dashed Metalmark (Necyria duellona ssp.) The species shows considerable variability, but the white rays on the forewings never extend to the wing tips as they do in Lyropteryx lyra. Regards, Karl

Thanks for that link Karl.  It must be getting cold in your neck of the woods.  We love getting your comments and corrections.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Guyana butterfly
Location: Guyana rainforest
February 12, 2014 5:46 pm
I saw the butterfly in the attached picture in Guyana in January. Any idea what it is?
Thank you.
Signature: KRB

Diurnal Moth we believe

Mantus Metalmark

We don’t believe this is a butterfly, but we do believe it is a member of the same order, Lepidoptera.  We believe this is a diurnal moth, but our famous search engine which begins with a G does not work as well any longer and we have not been able to find any matching images.

Probably Diurnal Moth

Mantus Metalmark

Correction Courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel and KRB:
Although it does look rather moth-like, this is actually a butterfly. It’s a Mantus Metalmark, Nymphidium mantus, another of those amazing neotropical Metalmark butterflies (Riodinidae). The subfamily is Riodininae, and according to the Butterflies of America site the species ranges from Costa Rica to Venezuela & Brazil. Regards.  Karl

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unusual Metalmark Butterfly from Ecuador
Location:  Ecuador
January 24, 2013
Hi Daniel. This second offering is of one of the appropriately named Sarota Jewelmarks, a group of 18 or so flashy little metalmarks (Riodinidae: Riodininae: Helicopini) from Central and South America. In addition to diminutive size, they all share characteristically dark brown or grey upper sides and carry all their colors on the underside. This individual is a Lasciva Sarota (Sarota lasciva) and it is apparently more rare and/or elusive than most. They are fast and erratic flyers and the males tend to be quite pugnacious in defence of their territory. Since they live in the tropical lowlands, in the upper Amazon basin in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil, the improbably ‘furry’ little legs can’t be for warmth. I read somewhere that similar hairiness in some lepidopterans aids in the distribution of sexual pheromones, so perhaps that is it. For reference, this one was about the size of my pinky fingernail. Thanks for the site and keep up the great work. Regards. Karl

Sarota Jewelmark

Thanks so much Karl,
Butterflies of America has photos of mounted
Sarota lasciva that show the “dark brown or grey upper sides” and Neotropical Butterflies has an image that looks very similar to your photo.  Butterflies of Amazonia has a beautiful photo of a mating pair of another species in the genus and much information, including:  “The Sarota Jewelmarks are possibly the cutest butterflies in the world. They have a very rapid and erratic flight. When seen buzzing about in the early morning they can easily be mistaken for small flies. Eventually they settle however and reveal themselves as creatures of exquisite beauty, with bright orange undersides streaked with metallic silver; and cute little furry legs !  The genus Sarota was reviewed in 1998 by Jason Hall, who recognises a total of 20 species, found variously from Mexico to Bolivia, with the highest concentration in Ecuador. It has been estimated that certain locations along the base of the eastern Andes each hold up to 15 species. Most of them are extremely rare and elusive – so much so that only that even the most experienced observers rarely manage to see more than half a dozen species in a lifetime.”  

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Swordtail From Peru
Location: Aguas Calientes, Peru
November 26, 2012 3:53 pm
Hey there Bugman
I was soaking in the hot springs at Aguas Calientes, Peru, just outside of Machupicchu yesterday when we saw this gorgeous Swordtail drinking water left by wet footprints. He was very friendly! What kind of bug is a transparent winged butterfly?? I knew you’d have the answer!
Thanks again!!
Your friend, Julie
Signature: offthegridinperu

Swordtail Butterfly from Peru

Hi Julie,
This is our first posting since returning from a Thanksgiving holiday and we are already running late our first day back, so there might be some factual errors.  Your subject line indicates that you have already identified this Swordtail Butterfly, but the body of the email indicates you don’t know the identity.  This is a Swordtail Butterfly in the Metalmark family Riodinidae, and it looks very similar but not identical to this Swordtail we posted from Argentina several years ago.  We suspect it is in the same genus,
Chorinea, but that it may be a different species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

like from a scrap book, no?
Location: Misiones/Argentina (Iguacu national park)
January 19, 2012 12:56 pm
This is a beautiful butterfly I was able to get a shot in Iguacu, Argentina. It was 2 inch or so. Did not find it’s name on the net. Can you help?
Signature: Jutta

Swordtail Butterfly

Dear Jutta,
This butterfly is positively stunning.  We had hoped it would not be too difficult to identify, and we started by doing a word search of “clearwing swallowtail (though we knew it was not Papilionidae) Peru (we read your location too quickly)” and after scouring many photos, we found a close but not perfect match FlickR that was called a Swordtail, but no species name.  Then we substituted Swordtail for Swallowtail and we found Morton Ross’ website and a lovely photo identified as the Octauius Swordtail,
Chorinea octauius.  Armed with a scientific name, we found no shortage of images of this beauty on the internet, including some photos from Panama on the Neotropical Butterflies website, though we were still not sure of the family classification.  Though we don’t like to cite Wikipedia as a source, it was Wikipedia that provided the family name Riodinidae, and we have created a new subcategory for Swordtails on our site.  Thanks for providing us with a challenging identification.  We did locate another member from the family in our archives so your beauty will not be classified alone.  We also learned that the family is commonly called Metalmarks.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Black moth with red spots
Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 8:49 AM
Since it’s resting with its wings open, is it a moth? Also, what’s a good website that helps you learn the major categories of butterflies and moths? I don’t know where to begin with this one.
Lake Yojoa, Honduras

Diurnal Moth

Diurnal Moth

Dear Kisdadee,
This looks like a Diurnal Moth to us, but we haven’t the time to research the exact species at the moment since it is the end of the semester and work has piled upon us. One of our faithful readers, Karl, has been doing a wonderful job of identifying many unidentified species we have posted lately. Perhaps he will write in with an answer. Though Honduras is outside of the range that is covered by the web site, we like BugGuide for our identifications of North American species. After writing that, we began to think that this moth reminds us of the Faithful Beauty, Composia fidelissima, and we tried to research that genus, but without any luck.

Hi Daniel:
This is actually a butterfly called the Red-Bordered Pixie (or just Pixie), Melanis pixe . It is a metalmark (family Riodinidae), and it ranges throughout Central America as far north as the extreme south of Texas. Regards.

Update: Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 7:28 AM
Dear Daniel,
Met a local butterfly expert. He tells me it’s a butterfly (not a moth), Melanis pixie, belongs to the Riodinidae family and the catterpilar eats on plants of the Fabacea family. It is slow flying and tends to rest on the underside of leaves. It is fairly common even in San Pedro Sula, it goes from sea leavel to 1400 meters over sea level.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination