Currently viewing the category: "Metalmarks"

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.

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.

every day!
Such a cool web site! Thank you for sharing your vast knowledge. This dude has had the same nest/web in the same spot for close to a year. I love to pass by him/her every day as I hike up the mountain. What is more is that I am gaining increased faith in my fellow man/woman as compassionate and responsible children of the Universe. Literally hundreds of people frequent this trail. Yet no one has destroyed its home.
This one is on the ground,. However, I see many webs built on dead trees with the funnel directed into a hollowed out branch. I wonder if this is an adaptation or likely another spider? Alas, “What is that bug?” Please forgive me if I am overstepping my boundaries with the following inquiry. Can you help me identify this (I think its a moth because the wings are split?). It is slightly larger than a nickel and moves very abruptly and deliberate. As opposed to some butterflies that seem to be at the mercy of prevailing winds. Thanks again for the great web site! Sincerely
Dino R. Ventittelli
San Diego CA
The United States of America =) PS I thought you might like this pic i took this morning?

Hi Dino,
While your Funnel Web Spider photos are quite nice and your ruminations on the compassion of your fellow San Diegans is touching (though we feel hikers in general are more in tuned to the pulse of the planet), we are opting to post your Mormon Metalmark, Apodemia mormo, instead for several reasons. First, it is a new species for our site, and secondly, we feel our readership will appreciate it more. Jeffrey Glassberg, in Butterflies Through Binoculars: The West, has a humorous observation that parallels your own observation. He writes: “A candidate for ritalin if I’ve ever seen one — these guys just won’t sit still. Difficult to follow while flying, when they finally decide to nectar they often keep walking around the flowers, waving their antennas and flapping their wings constantly.” The caterpillar feeds on Buckwheat, and you have photographed the butterfly nectaring on the flower of a native Buckwheat. This species has many subspecies and local populations, and the markings are highly variable, “but the combination of black and orange with many white spots is distinctive” according to Glassberg.

This was another first. I haven’t seen this kind of butterfly before. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It was small, but with gorgeous electric colors. It was hard to get a good picture as it was very active. I hope you can tell us what kind it is. Thanks,
Costa Rica

Hi Jori,
This diminutive beauty is known as an Arcias Swordtail, Rhetus arcius. We located it on a website of Mexican Butterflies. Once we had the correct taxonomic name, we located another site that indicated the common name Long Tailed Metalmark, and the subspecies name Rhetus arcius thia. We found images of another subspecies, Rhetus arcius beutelspacheri, that closely resembles the coloration on your specimen.