Pansy Daggerwing from Costa Rica

Subject: Costa Rican Butterfly
Location: Tuis, CR – 2 hours east of San Jose, Costa Rica
February 2, 2013 4:24 pm
I took this picture near Tuis, Costa Rica a few weeks ago. I’ve been unable to identify it without buying a book.
Any help you can give me would be great.
Signature: Jody G

Pansy Daggerwing

Hi Jody,
This is surely a striking butterfly with a stunning color combination.  We did a web search for “orange purple butterfly costa rica” and quickly found this framed specimen on Etsy where it is identified as
Marpesia marcella.  We then searched that name and found a lovely photo on TrekNature where this information is posted:  “This butterfly is relatively easy to find at the edges of rain forests and near rivers. It is usual to settle on the sand and sedimentary rocks, from which it seems to draw sales. Usually only found above 800 meters in elevation above the sea.”  Learn about Nature Butterflies of the Andes refers to it as the Pansy Daggerwing and states:  “This species is usually encountered as small groups of up to about 6 males, visiting wet sand or mud to imbibe mineral-laden moisture. In hot weather the butterflies tend to constantly flit from spot to spot, fanning their wings, but occasionally settle for a while and feed while holding their wings erect. In cooler or shady conditions they feed with wings outspread.  Females are elusive, spending most of their lives in the forest canopy, but in overcast weather will sometimes descend to settle on foliage along forest trails.”  Your individual appears to be puddling to derive moisture and minerals from the moist earth. 

Thank you so much! This is great. I’ve spent hours on every website I can find without success. I was just in your Carnage section. Too bad people don’t get it about spiders.  They are our friends (for the most part)!! And the glass and postcard trick works great.
Thanks again.

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