Ithomiini Butterflies

On my walk yesterday at the botanical gardens, I spotted many beautiful butterflies. The gardens are part of a 400 hectare forested property. There were plenty of interesting insects and I hope to go back and observe some more. With the city growing so quickly, I hope they preserve some forest. I heard city officials are considering moving the zoo to this property. What a big mistake in my opinion! A future driver of tourism and quality of life will be the amount of green space, but I don’t expect leaders to have this in their minds when financial considerations will take precedent.

I photographed two Ithomiini butterfly tribe members, which there are approximately 350 species, exclusively neotropical. They are unpalatable to predators due to the chemicals they buildup in their bodies when visiting flowers, especially those of the sunflower family. They are very slow flyers and have bright colors. There are basically two types, the orange/yellow tiger wings (photo above and below) and the clearwings (bottom photo). Some species of palatable butterflies mimic their orange and yellow look of the tiger wings to gain protection

I am guessing that this particular tigerwing I photographed is Mechanitis lysimnia. This is a common species found from Uruguay to Mexico.

Below is a photo of a clearwing, unidentified genus and species.

Finally below I photographed a third species of butterfly but I am not sure of the identification. If any readers can help me, I would appreciated it.


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