Leaf Wing Butterfly: Zaretis itys


Common Name: Leaf Wing Butterfly

Order Name: Lepidoptera

Family Name: Nymphalidae

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.