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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Mottled Purplewing
Eunica caelina  GODART, 1824
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - BIBLIDINAE
Tribe - EPICALIINI
subtribe - EPICALIINA
Eunica caelina Dave Griffiths
Introduction
The genus Eunica contains 40 species colloquially known as Purplewings due to the dazzling purple or metallic blue iridescence on the uppersides of the males. The ventral hindwings of many species are beautifully marbled, and bear a distinctive arrangement of ocelli.
Males of Eunica caelina are dark brown on the upper surface, with a deep purple sheen extending across the forewings, and a diagonal white line running from the tornus to midway along the costa. In subspecies olympias, caelina and alycia this line is reduced to a series or broken spots or may be entirely absent, but in agustina and augusta it is complete. In the Mexican agustina the purple sheen is particularly intense. In augusta it is sometimes replaced by a steely turquoise-blue which extends across the hindwings as well as the forewings. In females of all subspecies the purple or turquoise sheen is absent or greatly reduced.
Eunica caelina is distributed from Mexico to Brazil and Peru.
Habitats
This is a lowland rainforest species found at altitudes between about 100-800m.
Lifecycle
The lifecycle of Eunica species in general is poorly known and I can find no published details of the early stages of this species. The eggs of most Eunica species are laid singly on the flowers and leaf buds of trees including Mabea ( Euphorbiaceae ) and Bursera ( Burseraceea ). The larvae are likely to vary considerably in colouration and pattern from species to species, but generally have short spines along the sides, and a single row of longer erect spines on the last 3 segments of the body.
Adult behaviour

Males are usually encountered singly amidst multi-species aggregations imbibing moisture on river beaches or at the edges of puddles on open sunny tracks.

 

 

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