Leaf Wing Butterfly: Zaretis itys

Leaf Wing Butterfly: Zaretis itys, Photo, Picture
  • Common Name: Leaf Wing Butterfly
  • Order Name: Lepidoptera
  • Family Name: Nymphalidae

The butterfly members of this Order of insects include the popular and usually colorful species. Butterfly groups include monarchs, satyrs, dagerwings, leaf-wings, owls, buckeyes, admirals, checkerspots, crecents, fritillaries, heliconids, riodinids, blues, hairstreaks, coppers, whites, orange-tips, sulphurs and swallowtails.

Caterpillars of this species form frass chains at the ends of leaves. They bind particles of their droppings together with silk resulting in a jumble of debris which provides some protection from ants as the caterpillars rest from a voracious leaf diet. A somewhat more elaborate camouflage is applied by the adult butterfly, whos underwings bear remarkable resemblance to a dried leaf, all the way down to venation and discoloration. This group is quite variable in the neotropics.