Butterflies and Their Food Plants

Siderone galanthis Butterfly

Zuelania Guidonia Host Plant

Costa Rica

From the researcher's perspective...

Staring idly into the top of a dry forest oak tree on a long hot dry season afternoon, one comes to the sudden realization that there is a brilliant red flapping dot that appears periodically against the blue sky. For an hour it fools you into thinking that it is an Agrias amydon repeatedly launching and perching on the sap flow from a wounded Quercus oleoides branch—which is festooned with what appear to be flaps of bark but are actually slightly tipsy Memphis, Anaea, Archaeoprepona, Prepona, Historis and Myscelis, all congregated there to suck up the yeast-ridden fermenting sap (a.k.a. beer), and in the process transmit that same yeast to other newly damaged tree branches. But for some unknown reason, perhaps because it is shoved to the side by more aggressive butterflies, the red winged butterfly keeps leaping into the air for several turns before re-alighting. And then a pair of binoculars is produced and the red thing is pronounced to be Siderone galanthis. The underside, like that of the other sap feeders, looks for all the world like a dead leaf or a dead flap of tree bark but the top bears the brilliant eye-catching red (as in blue for others, or even red and blue for Agrias amydon) that says, once the bearer is in the air, "don't bother to try, yes, here I am, but I am way too fast". However, again as with all these other species that catch the human eye so visibly, we really do not know to what degree the evolution of these colors has been intertwined with the evolution of courtship displays.

Dr. Daniel Janzen

DNA Barcode of Siderone galanthis

Accessed from Barcode of Life Data Systems

MHMXA939-06 | 06-SRNP-55238 | Siderone galanthis | COI-5P