Life history descriptions of Adelpha attica attica, Adelpha epione agilla, and Adelpha jordani from an eastern Ecuador lowland forest


  • Karina P. Torres 3601 Pacific Ave, Department of Biological Sciences, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA 95211, USA
  • Nathalia Artieda
  • Patricio Salazar
  • Keith R. Willmott
  • Ryan I. Hill


The diverse Neotropical butterfly genus Adelpha Hübner (Nymphalidae) has long been recognized by tropical lepidopterists as a challenging group to classify owing to wing pattern similarity among sympatric species. The study of immature stages and host plants has historically played an important role in helping clarify Adelpha systematics and continues to offer insight into their adaptive radiation. Here we describe the immature stages of three species for the first time, Adelpha attica attica (C. Felder & R. Felder, 1867), Adelpha epione agilla (Fruhstorfer, 1907) and Adelpha jordani (Fruhstorfer, 1913), based on fieldwork in lowland forest of eastern Ecuador. We observed caterpillars of A. attica attica and A. epione agilla feeding on Chomelia tenuiflora Benth. (Rubiaceae), whereas those of Adelpha jordani fed on Calatola costaricensis Standl. (Icacinaceae). The immature morphology of these three species generally supports their position in recent phylogenetic analyses, and helps define species groups. In addition, continued study of the immature stage biology and food plant interactions promises to help provide a better understanding of the evolution of Adelpha host relationships.