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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Arizona Sister
Adelpha eulalia  DOUBLEDAY, 1848
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - LIMENITIDINAE
Tribe - LIMENITIDINI
Adelpha eulalia male, Huachuca, Arizona, USA Frank Model
Introduction
Adelpha butterflies are colloquially known as "Sisters". In terms of appearance they are reminiscent of the White Admirals ( Limenitis ) of Eurasia, and share with them a fondness for flitting gracefully around the lower branches of trees in the dappled sunlight of the forest.
There are 85 Adelpha species, distributed variously across Central and South America. The majority have a dark brown ground colour, with white bands and orange apical markings. The only species found north of Mexico is eulalia. It was formerly thought to be a subspecies of Limenitis bredowii.
Adelpha eulalia occurs in California, south Colorado, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Beyond the USA it is found in Mexico and Guatemala.
Habitats
This species is found in oak forest, mainly in river valleys.
Lifecycle
The egg is yellowish-green with myriads of tiny hexagonal depressions, and short spiky aeropyles arising at the intersections. It is laid singly on leaves of oaks Quercus ( Fagaceae ).
The young caterpillar sits at the end of a leaf, facing outwards, and nibbles away either side of the midrib, leaving just the vein jutting out. It silks the projecting vein and attaches a chain of frass to it. The larva can rest in safety at the tip of this perch, protected from marauding ants which find it impossible to traverse the frass chain to reach it. Prior to hibernation the larva silks its leaf to the oak stem to prevent the leaf from falling during the winter.
When fully grown the larva is either green or brown, and has six pairs of long thorny brown dorsal spikes. When at rest it adopts a hunched posture, with the thoracic segments arched, and the tail raised in the air. The pupa is pale brown with silver spots. It has lateral projections and prominent dorsal and thoracic keels. The overall impression is of a dead twisted leaf hanging from a twig.
Adult behaviour

Males commonly imbibe mineralised moisture from rocks, boulders or soil. Both sexes imbibe at sap runs on tree trunks. The paler females are normally only seen feeding at aphid secretions on leaves.

 

 

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