Hesperidae in Action!

James Hanlon jfhanlon at mediaone.net
Wed Feb 16 05:06:55 EST 2000

Field Notes 5-Sep-99

Primary tropical forest, rainy, hilly terrain, Turrialba Costa Rica at 600
meters, and I am the only one in the forest. Not really. I look back through
the trail and I spock a small light gap in the forest reaching from the
canopy and extending to the forest floor. In this light gap I glimpse the
dancing acrobatics of 3-4 hesperidae (skippers) (Astraptes talthybius
talthybius)appearing to be engaged in some sort of aero-dramatic combat. Or
quite possibly something more positive like a ceremonial mating dance. What
is going on in the light gaps?

Astraptes talthybius is a large hesperidae with a striking patch of
iridescent blue on the basal portion of its upper wing surface, extending
across the upper body. This skipper truly qualifies as a jewel of the

In addition to Preponas, Memphis, Doxocopa excelsa and Morphos feeding on
banana and rum, there are numerous Eumaeus toxea flying throughout the
understory.  E. toxea is Costa Rica's version of Florida's Eumaeus atala.
Large beautiful lycenidae, with a red-bottomed abdomen, that could and has
been easily mistaken for a riodinidae.

>From stardust to tropical butterflies is certainly quite a leap, albeit
quite plausible, a recipe which surely must have been engineered by
something extraordinarily godly.

Jim Hanlon

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