Owl Butterfly

Brassolini is a tribe in the subfamily of the Julia Butterfly ( Satyrinae ) from the family of Nymphalidae ( Nymphalidae ) with over 90 species. The moths of the genus Caligo are among the largest butterflies of the Neotropical region and are known to those sometimes the butterflies of the closely related genera Caligopsis and Eryphanis be counted among the German trivial name Bananenfalter.



The moths are sometimes large and have a beige to brown color. The upper wing of the males shimmer partly bluish. On the wing subpages conspicuous ocelli are of alternating light and dark rings. The ocelli are very similar in the genus Caligo greatest and see real eyes.

The males have conspicuous olfactory organs which are located as a fragrance shed or brush -like structures on the wings or the abdomen. These give off a pleasant smell for humans, such as vanilla. In Eryphanis polyxena for the first time a filling secretion was detected in the scent scales of the wings and on the abdomen. For other species of the tribe so far no glandular tissue was found. The scent scales of Caligo butterflies, up to two months to produce scent secretions.

First stages

The eggs are round, with a smooth or corrugated surface and are laid singly or in groups.

For all classes, except for Brassolis, the beads have a plurality of striking and rearward spines on the head capsule, often curved and having knobs. All caterpillars, also up to Brassolis, have a partial rather large tail fork. On the back of some caterpillars have small, triangular spines. Whether all the caterpillars have an eversible neck gland is not known. This is probably the defense against parasites and predators such as ants.

The shapes of the dolls vary greatly. Both round and square shapes found in Opsiphanes and Caligo, dolls of Eryphanis are slim and those of the genus Dynastor resemble the head of snakes.

Way of life

The moths are most active at dawn and very fast flier, so that they almost seem like bats. They rest with wings closed.

The caterpillars feed exclusively on monocots ( monocotyledons ). They retained the preference for palm family ( Arecaceae ) and grasses ( Poaceae ) from their ancestors. In addition, banana plants are ( Musaceae ), heliconias ( Heliconiaceae ) and bromeliads ( Bromeliaceae ) are important food crops. Some species can become pests, such as the Brassolis caterpillars can defoliate the whole coconut plantations or Caligo species which can cause damage to banana plantations. However, the Caligo caterpillars of parasites are kept under control, as long as not spraying with insecticides. In their application, the parasites are killed and the caterpillars can subsequently reproduce unchecked.


The distribution of the tribe is from Mexico through Central America to South America. On the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago are only populated with few species. The distribution area is located in the Amazon basin.


The tribe includes about 90 species in three sub- tribes with 17 genera, of which at least four are monotypic.

In older classifications, the clade is (now Morphinae, Tribe Morphini ) managed as a separate subfamily ( Brassolinae ) or tribe of the former subfamily of Morpho. A close family relationship to the eyes butterflies ( Satyrinae ) has long been known. Based on recent phylogenetic studies, the clade is now classified as a tribe of the subfamily of moth eyes. Occupies a special position, the genus Bia, which was 150 years, considered by most Lepidopterologen as a species of moth eyes. Studies of the early stages, and DNA analyzes have shown that it belongs to the Brassolini. The olfactory organs in the abdomen are typical of certain genera of the tribe, as well as the wing drawing. Therefore, the genus among the subtribes Biina was asked, standing next to the subtribes Brassolina and Naropina.


  • Subtribes Biina ( Herrich -Schäffer 1864) Bia Hübner 1819, 2 types
  • Aponarope Casa Grande in 1982, one kind Aponarope sutor ( burin 1916)
  • Narope Doubleday in 1849, 17 species
  • Brassolis Fabricius 1807, 4 types
  • Dynastor Doubleday 1849, 3 types
  • Dasyophthalma Westwood in 1851, 4 types
  • Opoptera Aurivillius 1882, 5-7 species
  • Caligopsis Seydel 1924, 1-2 species
  • Eryphanis Boisduval in 1870, 5 types
  • Caligo Hübner 1819, 21 species
  • Selenophanes Staudinger 1887, 3 types
  • Penetes, 1 type Penetes pamphanis Doubleday 1849
  • Catoblepia Pricks 1901, 8 species
  • Mielkella Casa Grande in 1982, one kind Mielkella singularis ( Weymer 1907)
  • Orobrassolis Casa Grande in 1982, one kind Orobrassolis ornamentalis ( burin 1906)
  • Blepolenis Röber 1906, 3 types
  • Opsiphanes Doubleday in 1849, 12 species


  • Philip J. De Vries: The butterflies of Costa Rica and Their Natural History. Princeton University Press, 1997, ISBN 0-691-08420-3, pp. 245ff.