The Riodinidae with over 1,300 species are one of the least known families of butterflies in the Neotropics. Although they make up a healthy portion of the butterfly fauna, little is known of the life histories of the majority of the species and even less is known about their ecology and population biology. Most of the species are lowland humid tropical forest dwellers and are difficult to observe because of their low population densities and habit of hiding from sight by perching on the underside of leaves. Some species are so rare that they’re only known from a one single specimen and for two species, 80 years went by before a second specimen was found. Besides being colorful, many are part of butterfly mimicry rings, some have ant-associated caterpillars and males of many species perch in specific territories at a certain time of day to be available for the females.
Living right at foot of the east slope of the Andes for many years I’ve seen how this special forest, a biodiversity “hotspot”, has been divided into fragments as the human population keeps growing and growing. Since I have a small fragment of this forest behind my house, it occurred to me in 2011 to start recording what species of this amazing group of Riodinids are found there and to observe their habits. As time goes on I’ll post my data and observations.
A New Riodinid book! November, 2017
by Jean-Yves Gallard