Anaea marthesia & Anaea tehuana
26x19x6cm frame (black)
Anaea marthesia species is a very strong flier which spends the majority of its adult life high in the treetops, rarely venturing down to the forest floor except to feed upon fermenting fruit. It does not feed on flowers – apart from fermenting fruit on the ground, its main food source is fermenting tree sap. Despite in all likelihood being tipsy for the entirety of its adult life it is very nimble.
The underside of this butterfly – which unfortunately can’t be seen in this display – resembles a dead leaf or a flake of bark, while the top of the male is a brilliant, eye-catching red set off against black. The bright colour acts perhaps both as an anti-pursuit signal, saying ‘here I am, but I’m far too fast for you’, and as a flag to potential mates. Females are rarely seen.
Caterpillars are very tricky to find as they perch at the tips of leaves and look like bits of rotting bark hanging down. When they pupate their chrysalises are bright green and hang beneath the foliage like small green fruit. As soon as they emerge they head for the forest canopy.
The most I can say about Anaea tehuana can be summed up in the one sentence I have found across the entire internet:
“There is surprisingly little to be found in the literature concerning this butterfly”.