Orange-spotted Tiger Clearwing
Mechanitis polymnia (Orange-spotted Tiger Clearwing) is a very widespread species, distributed from Mexico to Bolivia. There are 22 named subspecies, each varying in colour and pattern.
Adults of some groups are the longest-lived butterflies, surviving 6-11 months. Adult feeding behavior depends on the species, where some groups primarily seek flower nectar while others only feed on sap flows, rotting fruit, dung, or animal carcasses. Males exhibit perching and patrolling behaviors when seeking mates.
The black and orange-banded "tigers" are toxic, many of which are mimicked by other species due to their unpalatability to birds. The shared pattern gives the butterflies an "advantage in numbers" because insectivorous birds learn to avoid all "tiger" species - tasting one such butterfly causes birds to vomit, and the experience is enough to convince them to leave similar looking creatures alone.
© Istvan Kadar Photography