Melanis smithiae

Smith's Pixie

Melanis smithiae, Smith's Pixie, butterfly image from Brazil

Family: Riodinidae

Subfamily: Riodininae


Melanis (28 species) is a mostly South American genus, with 3 of the species found north of Panama.  These are dark butterflies with lighter markings on or near the apices of all four wings.

The known life histories of Melanis species involve larvae developing on trees in the bean family, Fabaceae.  Adults nectar on a variety of shrubs and trees, including orange and inga.

M. smithiae has markings as shown, but these are variable, and for example the four red spots are sometimes absent. 

Melanis smithiae has been reported from Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

Photo data: 21 May 2012. At lights. Novo Airão, Amazonas, Brazil.

GPS data: -2.6211, -60.9433. Elevation 32 meters above sea level.