Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the February 4, 2018 Newsletter issued from Rancho Regensis north of Valladolid, Yucatán, MÉXICO

While watering the garden, suddenly amid all the greenness and glaring sunlight a flash of neon blueness erupted, then disappeared. Shutting off the hose, I went to look and saw nothing but a drably dark-brown butterfly with its wings folded above its back, without a hint of blueness. The little critter didn't seem too nervous with my presence, so I took the photograph shown below:

Blue Wave, MYSCELIA CYANIRIS, side view

Of course the picture was sent off to volunteer butterfly identifier Bea in Ontario, who soon let me know that this was a new species for our famous Yucatan Butterfly ID page at http://www.backyardnature.net/yucatan/mariposa/

It was MYSCELIA CYANIRIS, well known enough to bear several English names, including Blue Wave, Blue-banded Purplewing, Whitened Bluewing and Royal Blue. The blue in all the names is obvious enough in pictures of the butterfly with its wings open, but at rest the Blue Wave doesn't like to be seen, indulging in "cryptic coloration," or camouflage.

Having the name, now we can have the fun of looking up the species to see what it's all about. It's distributed from southern Mexico through Central America into northern South America, to Ecuador and Peru. Its Wikipedia page says that it's associated with rainforest habitats, but here we definitely find it in a weedy garden surrounded by semideciduous forest, during the early dry season. Larvae are reported as feeding on members of the genus Dalechampia and Adelia, both members of the big Spurge or Euphorbia Family, the Euphorbiaeae. Here we have species in both genera, and plenty of other species also in the Euphorbia Family.