Identifying Cycadians (Genus Eumaeus)

I spent a little time looking into the Cycadians (Genus Eumaeus). Its a pretty easy group because there are only 6 species and they're pretty distinct visually from other Hairstreaks in the Lycaenidae. Their distributions are also mostly allopatric. The exceptions are the 2 Mexican species Eumaeus toxea and Eumaeus childrenae which luckily look very different. And also the 2 South American species that occur East of the Andes which are Eumaeus minyas and Eumaeus toxana. This genus is endemic to the America's so Butterflies of America's has complete info on taxonomy and distribution.

I found some helpful notes from Kim Garwood's discussion board here on distinguishing Eumaeus minyas from Eumaeus toxana which make sense to me after examining some photos. They are:

Also, it wasn't mentioned in the post, but to me Eumaeus toxana's wings look more pointed and Eumaeus minyas's more rounded.
I haven't spent too much time looking at the dorsal sides of the wings because 90% of the photos are of perched individuals with their wings closed. But here's a shot of Eumaeus atala in flight © Joseph MDO:

The larvae feed on Cycads - hence the common name Cycadians - and their larvae are quite distinctive. Here's a shot of Eumaeus godartii © Alessandro Bartolo. I haven't looked into how to identify caterpillars to species where more than one species overlap.

Hope this helps, and let me know if I've gotten anything wrong!

Posted on January 10, 2019 08:46 AM by loarie loarie


Great stuff, Scott! Hoping to see an atala in Florida next week!
Thanks for this journal entry.

Posted by sambiology about 5 years ago

This is lovely!

Posted by edanko about 3 years ago
Posted by loarie almost 3 years ago

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