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Malachite butterfly The Malachite (Siproeta stelenes) is a neotropical brush-footed butterfly (family Nymphalidae). The malachite has large wings that are black and brilliant green or yellow-green on the uppersides and light brown and olive green on the undersides. It is named for the mineral malachite, which is similar in color to the bright green on the butterfly's wings. The wingspread is typically between 8.5 and 10 cm (3.3 and 3.9 in). The malachite is found throughout Central and northern South America, where it is one of the most common butterfly species. Its distribution extends as far north as southern Texas and the tip of Florida, to Cuba, as subspecies S. s. insularis (Holland, 1916), and south to Brazil.
Adults feed on flower nectar, rotting fruit, dead animals, and bat dung. Females lay eggs on the new leaves of plants in the Acanthaceae family, especially ruellia. The larvae are horned, spiny black caterpillars with red markings.Their range of flight is from Central to South America, and some have been seen in the Southern United States (like Florida and Texas). They have also been seen in Jamaica and Cuba. Males have been seen perching near the forest openings and appear to be waiting for females. If they are not doing this, they are doing a slow type of flight that has a floating effect. The do this while waiting for female malachites to come around. You can sometimes find adult malachites "roosting" in small groups under leaves.
May 13th, 2013
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