Mexico, USA & Canada
Siproeta stelenes LINNAEUS,
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - VICTORINIINI
© Adrian Hoskins
The tribe Victoriniini includes the Asian
genus Rhinopalpa, the African
Vanessula, and the neotropical genera
Metamorpha, Napeocles and
There are 3 Siproeta
species - stelenes,
The beautiful Malachite is distributed from
Florida and Texas, south to Peru, Argentina and Bolivia. The
butterflies look particularly beautiful when seen at rest, with
sunshine streaming through the translucent green windows on the
This widespread and common species is found in a many different
habitats including lowland and mid-elevation rainforest, and
deciduous forests, but is most commonly seen in secondary habitats,
including roadsides, riverbanks, orchards and gardens. It occurs at
altitudes between 0-1400m.
The eggs are dark green, and laid singly on
leaves of Ruellia,
Blechum, all members of the Acanthaceae.
fully grown larva is dark olive in colour, with a series of whorled
spikes along the back and sides. Those on the back are reddish. The
chrysalis is pale green, with the thorax and abdomen covered in
minute black dots, and is suspended by the long cremaster from stems
of the foodplant.
© Adrian Hoskins
are usually seen in open sunlit areas along roads and riverbanks, but
I have also often found them basking on low foliage in dappled
sunlight along narrow forest trails.
Females tend to patrol back and forth along a
limited stretch of habitat, dotting their eggs about fairly randomly.
sexes nectar at Lantana and other
flowers. Males also feed at carrion and dung, and visit orchards to
feed at rotting fruit. I have often seen groups of Malachites feeding
on decaying fallen mangos in Costa Rica.
sunny days I often see singletons imbibing mineralised moisture from
dirt tracks and stony roads in Peru and the Venezuelan Andes. If
disturbed they usually fly up onto the lower branches of trees,
where they are superbly camouflaged.
butterflies go to roost in late afternoon beneath leaves. This can
take place either among low vegetation along the forest edge, or on
saplings in the understorey deep inside the forest.