Mexico, USA & Canada
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - BIBLIDINAE
Tribe - EPICALIINI
subtribe - EPICALIINA
© Adrian Hoskins
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.
There are 3 subspecies of Eunica volumna.
In the northern form venusia which
occurs from Mexico to Colombia the dorsal forewings of the male are
black, and the hindwings almost entirely covered with a blue sheen.
In the Andean form celma the blue sheen
is restricted to the outer margin of the hindwings. The most
beautiful race is volumna volumna which
is found in Amazonia, in which the females are brilliant blue on
both wings. The females of all forms have a broad white diagonal
band across the forewings.
Eunica volumna is
distributed from southern Mexico to Peru and across most of
This species is found in forested habitats at elevations between sea
level and about 1000m.
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
Females are normally encountered
singly, flying in light gaps in the forest understorey or basking on
bushes along forest trails. Males also bask on foliage, particularly
in late afternoon. They are also often seen in one's and two's
mud-puddling at the edges of pools, streams or river beaches.
© Dave Griffiths