Blue-rayed Metalmark - Lyropteryx apollonia
Lyropteryx apollonia (Riodinidae) is one of those butterflies that are equally striking whether they are seen from both the upperside (top photo) or the underside (bottom photo) of the wings.
In addition to its stunning look, these butterflies have a peculiar behavior. Males are occasionally seen visiting sewage seepages or urine-soaked ground. They drink using the “filter-feeding” method, whereby they imbibe almost continually, extracting salts from mineral-rich patches of ground, or from the edges of puddles. Periodically they squirt the demineralized water from their anus, curving their abdomen so as to aim the liquid at the ground beneath their feet. There it leaches more minerals from the ground, which are re-imbibed. This process is continuous and the butterflies often recycle the same fluid many times during a period of several minutes.
The Blue-rayed Metalmark is widely distributed throughout the tropical regions of South America including Colombia, western and southern Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia.
Photo credit: [Top: ©Jeffrey Glassberg | Locality: Apuya, Napo, Ecuador (2013)] - [Bottom: ©Andrew Neild | Locality: Apuya track off the main road from Tena to Puyo, Ecuador (2013)]