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.



Eggs are 0.47 mm in diameter and generally laid singly.


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


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


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.


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.


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


A darker reddish larva on Compositae.


5th instar prepupa stage.


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.


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

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