New Butterflies at REGUA

<em>Adelotypa bolena</em>, Elfin Forest Trail, REGUA (&copy; Katarina Samara)
Adelotypa bolena, Elfin Forest Trail, REGUA (© Katarina Samara)
Male <em>Semomesia geminus</em>, REGUA (© REGUA)
Male Semomesia geminus, REGUA (© REGUA)
Male <em>Dachetola azora</em>, REGUA (© REGUA)
Male Dachetola azora, REGUA (© REGUA)
Female Dachetola azora, Pico da Caledônia (© REGUA)
Female Dachetola azora, Pico da Caledônia (© REGUA)

Although chordate animals (those true vertebrates having a dorsal nerve) draw more attention from the general public, the smaller universe of arthropods such as insects, spiders, scorpions and crustaceans constantly surprise and provide us with an equally bewildering diverse and beautiful selection of animals. The diffusion and popularity of digital photography has just recently brought this peculiar world to the eyes of the general public and interest on these smaller creatures. We will now post some news on some interesting or rare bugs seen at REGUA, starting with the sighting of a couple rare small and delightful butterflies from the metalmark family (Riodinidae).

The top of the Red (Elfin Forest) Trail has been providing new records in the last couple of years for REGUA, the Três Picos State Park and even the state of Rio de Janeiro. Butterflies use this forested mount for their practice of ‘hilltoping’, an insect behaviour that seeks to facilitate the finding of mates, perching places, etc, in populations of fewer individuals rather scattered over a large territory.

The first new record for REGUA, know previously only from Teresópolis, is this superb yellow Adelotypa bolena butterfly. This specimen was photographed by Katarina Samara on the top of the Red Trail, a graduate student from Manchester Metropolitan University while doing some research on Blue Manakin populations.

The second new specimen was a small Morpho, Semomesia geminus, a new state record, now seen and photographed three times at REGUA: top of Red Trail and nearby Elfin Forest (September 2010), Green Trail (November 2011) and recently on the Schincariol-São Jose Trail (June).

Another rarity and new record at REGUA was seen and photographed on a shortcut of the Brown Trail (August) around the bird lodge. This small brown with orange edged Dachetola azora, is a male perching on a hilly secondary dry forest area. In March, a female was also found during an expedition to the Caledonia peak.