Nymphidium lisimon

Nymphidium lisimon (Stoll, 1790)

Lisimon is the dominant species at the study site and was never absent a single day during four years of the survey. To try to explain the factors contributing to this species success, the following characteristics might be considered:

  • Small size; both adults and larvae need less resources and space than larger species.
  • Larvae are myrmecophilous, they receive protection from predators and parasites.
  • Larvae construct shelters from young leaves and when not feeding rest inside accompanied by ants.
  • Polyphagous, the larvae feed on the plants of many families including Solanaceae and Compositae, Sterculiaceae, Malphigiaceae and many species of Leguminosae.
  • Resistance to dry season low humidity conditions.

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Eggs are 0.47 mm in diameter and generally laid singly.

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Occasionally eggs are laid in small groups but the larvae are not gregarious.

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A 3rd instar larvae attended by Wassmannia sp. ants.

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A possible 4th instar larvae. The larvae are variably colored, most are green with brown streaks but some are dark maroon like the one above that fed on  Compositae.

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The larvae feeding on  Theobroma cacao had a reddish coloration. The whitish patches on the 8th abdominal segment are where the Tentacle Nectary Organs are located.

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A 13 mm 5th instar larva displaying the most typical coloration.

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A darker reddish larva on Compositae.

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5th instar prepupa stage.

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Newly transformed pupae are translucent green turning opaque in a few days. They pupate inside the leaf shelters or on the underside of leaves. Length = 11mm.

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The pupae darken a few days before eclosion. The whole cycle from egg to eclosion takes around 28 days.

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