Currently viewing the category: "Metalmarks"

Subject:  Butterfly in South Brazil
Geographic location of the bug:  Florianópolis SC Brazil
Date: 04/17/2019
Time: 10:13 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Mr. Bugman, it is fall and there are beautiful asteraceae flowering. I found this beautiful butterfly feeding on one Eupatorium inulifolium (I think) and would like your help with its identification please.
How you want your letter signed:  Carolina

Metalmark we believe

Dear Carolina,
We actually believe this is a diurnal Moth and not a butterfly, but we have not been able to locate any similar looking Brazilian specimens.  We need to do more research, and perhaps Cesar Crash or one of our other readers will recognize this beauty and write in with an identification.

Oh! Thanks for posting! Will standby for this moth ID.

Update:  Metalmark Butterfly
Two different readers wrote in identifying this as a Metalmark Butterfly in the family Riodinidae.  The closest match was found by Cesar Crash on Butterflies of America.

Oh thank you so much Daniel.

Subject: Ecuadorian beauty
Location: 3 hrs NW of Quito, Ecuador
February 2, 2017 12:21 pm
Hi Guys,
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.
Thank you,
Signature: Dwaine


Dear Dwaine,
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  

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.

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

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.”  

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.