Mexico, USA & Canada
FELDER & FELDER,
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - LIMENITIDINI
© Peter Bruce-Jones
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
There are 85 known species of
Adelpha, all except one of which are
confined to Central and South America. They are characterised by the
distinctive black marbled pattern overlaid on a dark brown ground
colour; and by having a broad orange or white band on the forewings.
In the vast majority of species this band also extends vertically
down to the tornus of the hindwings.
While it is easy to
recognise the genus, determining the individual species
can sometimes be very difficult - a problem exacerbated by
misidentified museum specimens and mislabelled illustrations in many
entomological books. The only reliable identification resource is
"The genus Adelpha" by Keith Willmott.
Accurate identification requires meticulous examination of the
configuration of the orange markings in the subapical area on the
forewing, and of the precise shape of the vertical bands. It
is also essential in most cases to examine the patterning on the
Adelpha malea occurs
from Mexico to Bolivia, Paraguay and northern Argentina.
This species is found in rainforest habitats at elevations between
sea level and about 1000m.
have no data specific to malea. The
following generalisations apply to the genus
of most species are white or pale green, and are laid singly on
leaves of the foodplants which include
Rubiaceae, Moraceae, Urticaceae, Verbenaceae, Melastomaceae,
Bombacaceae, Ulmaceae, Piperaceae, Tiliaceae or Ericaceae according
young larvae nibble away at the tips of leaves, leaving the midrib
projecting. They construct a chain of frass along the midrib and
rest at the end of it. The frass chains appear to act as a deterrent
to ants, spiders and parasitoids which find it difficult to walk on
them. When fully grown the larvae are cryptically coloured and
resemble bird droppings, mossy twigs or bits of curled up dead leaf.
They have 2 rows of conspicuous spines along their backs, those on
the first two segments being enlarged and directed forward, while
the third pair are directed backward. The pupae, which are suspended
by the cremaster, are in some species green or brown, while others
are entirely silver, and shiny. The pupae of some species are
decorated with numerous spikes and projections, and sometimes have
very prominent palpi.
Males are usually encountered
singly. They often visit damp ground or rocks to imbibe mineral rich