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Eumaeus childrenae

(Superb Cycadian)


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Common Names

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Common Names in English:

Superb Cycadian, Superb Cycadian or Great Cycadian


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Family Lycaenidae

'The Lycaenidae are members of the Superfamily Papilionoidea, the true butterflies. Worldwide in distribution, this family has approximately 4,700 species that are unevenly distributed. Coppers are especially dominant in north temperate regions , blues are richest in the Old World tropics and north temperate zones, and hairstreaks are particularly abundant in New World tropics. The adults are typically small to tiny and often brilliantly colored--iridescent blues, bright reds, and oranges. Adults of both sexes have three pairs of walking legs , though most males have fused segments in their front legs. Most adults visit flowers for nectar, but some harvesters feed on wooly aphid honeydew and some hairstreaks feed on aphid honeydew or bird droppings. Females lay single, sea urchin shaped eggs on host leaves or flower buds; the resulting caterpillars are typically slug-shaped. In many species, caterpillars depend on ants for protection, so caterpillars produce sugary secretions that are collected by the ants. Most species overwinter in either the egg or pupal stage.


Subfamily Theclinae

Hairstreaks are members of the Family Lycaenidae. Richest in tropical habitats , hairstreaks are numerous in the Americas and comprise about 1,000 species. In tropical species, the upperside of small to medium-sized adults is often iridescent blue, due to reflected light from the wing scales . However, most of the North American species are brown above. Migration is rare, but a few species (such as the Gray Hairstreak) are good long-distance colonists . Males perch to await mates, and females lay eggs singly. Caterpillars usually feed on leaves or reproductive structures of woody trees or shrubs . Interestingly, the chrysalids of several species can produce sounds between their abdominal segments, likely related to their interactions with ants . Hairstreaks typically overwinter in the egg or pupal stage.[2]


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Name Status: Accepted Name .

Similar Species

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There is an old 1915 RGV record for the Mexican Cycadian (E. toxea) but the Superb Cycadian appears to be the more common of the two species in Nuevo Leon and in Tamaulipas.

Members of the genus Eumaeus

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 4 species and subspecies in this genus:

E. atala (Atala) · E. childrenae (Superb Cycadian) · E. godartii (Godart's Cycadian) · E. toxea (Mexican Cycadian)

More Info

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Further Reading

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  1. Butterflies [back]
  2. [back]
Last Revised: 2/2/2015