Field-identification of the Caligo Butterflies (Nymphalidae, Brassolinae) of Trinidad and Tobago

Matthew J.W. Cock


Three species of Caligo are found in Trinidad: C. brasiliensis minor Kaye (forest mort bleu), C. teucer insulanus Stichel (cocoa mort bleu), and C. illioneus illioneus (Cramer) (cane mort bleu) (Barcant 1970, Cock 2014). The first two are also found in Tobago (Cock 2017). Although Barcant (1970) provides guidance for their identification based on characters of the dorsal surface, identification based on the ventral surface alone has not been documented. This note is intended to fill that gap and enable all three species to be identified in the field and from photographs of butterflies at rest.

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Barcant, M. 1970. Butterflies of Trinidad and Tobago. London: Collins. 314 p.

Cock, M.J.W. 2014. An updated and annotated checklist of the larger butterflies (Papilionoidea) of Trinidad, West Indies: Papilionidae, Pieridae and Nymphalidae. Insecta Mundi, 0353: 41 p.

Cock, M.J.W. 2017. The butterflies (Papilionoidea) of Tobago, West Indies, West Indies: An updated and annotated checklist. Insecta Mundi, 0539: 38 p.

Guppy, J. 1904. Appendix. Notes on the habits and early stages of some Trinidad butterflies. p. 225-228, pl. 17-18. In: Kaye, W.J. A catalogue of the Lepidoptera Rhopalocera of Trinidad. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London, 1904(2): 159-228, pl. 17-18.

Quesnel, V.C. and Stradling, D.J. 2012. Evidence for the function of the eye-spots in the butterfly genera Caligo and Eryphanis (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Morphinae: Brassolini). Living World, Journal of the Trinidad & Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club, 2012: 12-19.

Stradling, D.J. 1976. The nature of the mimetic patterns of the brassolid genera, Caligo and Eryphanis. Ecological Entomology, 1: 135-138.


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