Orion Butterfly (Historis odius orion)

Pricing: Dead (spread, as pictured): $30-$40 depending on quality
Geographic Range: Mexico to Argentina and the West Indies (strays to Texas & Florida)
View: Top View  Sex: Monomorphic  Size: FW: 53-56 mm (male) & 60-65 mm (female)


Image Copyright 2003
Barbara Strnadova

Historis odius is a powerful flyer, found on many distant islands along the huge swath of territory that comprises its home range. Two subspecies occur: Historis odius orion (pictured) and Historis odius odius (which has a much larger patch of ochre coloration). Usually found flying high up in the forests they tend to inhabit, they will descend to feed on the juices of rotting fruit. They are fond of this elixir, as well as other fermenting liquids, such as that from tree wounds, carrion and dung. They do not feed on flowers. Their larvae live equally strange lives. They feed on Cecropia peltata, a plant often protected by resident Azteca ants. To avoid being eaten, first instar larvae build frass chains, which dangle off the edges of leaves and which they rest on when not feeding. Somehow, it seems they eventually absorb the smell of the ant colony and are soon treated as part of it. Mature larvae are about 7.5cm in length, mottled black, orange and blue, and with many branched spines on their backs.