Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Costa Rica Butterflies

I've had a few unidentified pictures of Costa Rican butterflies sitting around since my November trip there. I finally decided to put some effort into finding out what they were. After all, any good naturalist can't let something in nature go unnamed. Now, there IS a Costa Rican butterfly guide. Unfortunately, it's split into 2 volumes and is not very field friendly. It's also highly scientific. Strangely, Amazon only carries the second volume. After some discussion with the author of Firefly Forest about her recent CR butterfly identifications, I decided to put Google to good use. After some searching, I came across the wonderful site Neotropical Butterflies by Kim Garwood and Richard Lehman. Kim and Richard have taken a ton of pictures from Mexico through the Amazon. They've also published a book on the Butterflies of Northeastern Mexico and have an upcoming book on the butterflies of Brazil.

I recommend poking around the site and witnessing the amazing creations of Mother Nature. I especially love the clearwings and the swordtails. One of the coolest butterflies in the world has to be the Octauius Swordtail. With the help of their site, I was able to identify one of my pictures as the Trotschi Eyemark (see below).

Trotschi Eyemark

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to identify these others yet.

Satyr species

No clue...

If you happen to have the Costa Rican butterfly field guides, any help would be appreciated.


cpbvk said...

Hi Patrick:
Both of those butterflies belong to the subfamily Satyrinae. The top one is Taygetis andromeda, a common butterfly found throughout the neotropical region, in many different habitats. The caterpillars feed on bamboo and some other grasses. The lower insect is Pierella helvetica, found through most of C. America. Its larvae feed on Heliconia plants.

Patrick Belardo said...

Awesome, thanks Carel. What did you use as a resource?

cpbvk said...

I own the DeVries Butterflies of Costa Rica. It's a great book. If you can get a hold of an edition from the early '90s, it's worth the extra money. The plates are life size (About 1/2 in later editions). Most of the field guide aspect is in vol. 1, so I'd recommend holding out for both volumes. Incidentally, I misspelled the name of the second one. The species name should be helvetia. It's a bug, not a font. Sorry.

Patrick Belardo said...

Thanks for the info on the books. I have seen them and they are on my "to buy" list. That's good to know about the older additions. Incidentally, I was able to find a picture using the misspelling, so you're not the first one to call this bug a font. :)

Phil said...

one hates to think of a butterfly guide as difficult to use because they are in, for some reason, in two volumes and contain more than just the usual picture-name thing. well it turns out i had to spend 10 years doing the field work for the first volume (now out of print) and a mere nine years of field work for the second volume to be able to offer the world the ability to identify the butterflies of Costa Rica, And to some the possibility of trying to understand them as living organsims with ranges, habits, and an individual natural history.
Phil DeVries

Phil said...

you might suggest to the folks at you favorite website that their Theope #3 is not riodinid, but rather, a member of the Satyrinae. I would have sent this directly, but they do not have a direct email contact on their website.
Phil DeVries

Patrick Belardo said...


Thanks so much for commenting. I didn't mean to offend and I'm sorry if I did. Your work gets all my respect. I just found that it wasn't easy for a layman like me to get the most out of such a guide. I don't know the authors of that website personally, but I will try to pass the message along.