Rusty-Tipped Page Butterfly
The scientific name for butterfly (Lepidoptera).
The scientific name for Rusty-Tipped Page Butterfly (Siproeta epaphus).
This species name Siproeta epaphus, is also called the brown Siproeta. The species was first identified in 1813 It is a member the Nymphalidae family, Nymphalinae sub-family. They are part of the Victoriniini tribe. There are three species of Rusty-Tipped Page Butterfly: stelenes, superba and epaphus. Ephaphus has the widest range of the three.
The rusty-tipped page butterfly has a black body with white on the edges of the black center except for the rust colored tips of its wings. For the subspecies and South American branch of S. epaphus epaphus, officially called Siproeta epaphus epaphus, the area past the tips of the wings is sometimes entirely black. The underside of the wings are rust colored, usually red or orange. The wings are 2 1/2 to 3 inches across (6.3 to 7.6cm). The area border between the orange or reddish outer color and black or dark brown central coloring is divided by a bright white band. At the very tip of the wings is a fine black or dark brown border. The head is dark brown or black, and the antennae are black. The rust colored tips are a warning to potential predators not to eat the butterfly. However, many birds do try to eat the animals.
This is a tropical butterfly species. It is found from central South America to North America, with the northern end of its range ending in south Texas. It is sometimes found in southern New Mexico. Subspecies S. epaphus gadoui is found in Venezuela. Subspecies S. epaphus trayja is based in Brazil. S. epaphus epaphus has the widest range. They prefer wet subtropical forests but are found along rivers. They are found at the edges of tropical rain forests, especially between 1320 to 5900 feet (400 meters and 1800 meters) in elevation
The Rusty-Tipped Page Butterfly lays its dark green with yellow ribs eggs in groups on the new leaves of young plants. The caterpillars are maroon with orange branched spikes. These caterpillars are Batesian mimics, resembling the swallowtail larva that are poisonous to birds. The caterpillars have black heads with backward curved horns. The host plants for their caterpillars are Blechum and Ruellia. The rusty tipped page creates a pale green chrysalis that is suspended from the food plant by a cremaster. The adults drink nectar from a variety of species, but not limited to Lantana, Cordia, Croton and Stachytarpheta. They also drink from rotting fruit, dung and carrion.
Adults usually live individually but are sometimes found in groups of two or three. Males sometimes drink mineral water from muddy water or water pockets in rock. Females are found more often at the forest edge. Many rain forest butterflies fly at the canopy level. Page butterflies are usually at ground level, rarely going more than 6 to 7 feet (two meters) above ground level.
The Rusty-tipped Page looks a lot like the swallowtails, since they have hind wing extensions and similar coloring, the rusty-tipped page is part of the brush footed family, Nymphalidae. The page has first legs with senses to taste the plant, instead of using these legs for walking.