Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
from the December 24, 2007 Newsletter issued from Yerba Buena Clinic just outside Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacan, Chiapas, MÉXICO
about 1740 meters in elevation, ± LAT. 17° 11' 27"N, LONG. -92° 53' 35"W
The other day Iván and I were walking to town when alongside the road we found a beautiful butterfly that'd been killed by a car. It's shown below.
The eye-catching feature of this butterfly is that the lower surface of its hindwing bears an unmistakable representation of the number 88. The wings' upper surface, just black and white with a hint of blue, isn't nearly as interesting, as you can see below.
This is a tropical species known as Anna's Eighty- eight, DIAETHRIA ANNA ANNA. It's one of the "brush- footed butterflies," which means that it's a member of the largest of all "true butterfly" families, the Nymphalidae, along with such all-time favorites as the Painted Lady, fritillaries and checkerspots. The main field mark distinguishing members of the Nymphalidae is that their front legs are greatly reduced, often so short and hairy that they look like brushes.
A few days later I photographed the species shown below.
That's obviously another "eighty-eight" species but its 88s aren't as perfect as the Anna's. It's the White-patched Eighty-eight, DIAETHRIA BACCHIS. Since it belongs to the same genus as Anna's Eighty-eight the similarities are understandable.
Apparently from time to time other "eighty-eight" species turn up in Texas not far from the Mexican border or in southern Florida, where introductions might be suspected. But most North Americans, unless they come way south, will never see "eighty-eight" butterflies in their natural habitat.
By the way, my gallery of upland Chiapas butterflies continues to grow. You can see what I have so far at http://www.backyardnature.net/chiapas/butter01.htm.