wingspan : 19 mm

in the litteraturs and on the Internet any black Syrmatia is deemed to be Syrmatia aethiops.

but they're not all the same as evidenced by the two butterflies on the bottom picture :
     - the specimen on the left has rouded FW, and long HW tails, completely black,
     - the one on the right has elongated FW, and much longer HW tails with a clearly visible white tip.

the one on the left, which comes from East of the Andes, is the same size and has the same shape as Syrmatia lamia.
the one on the right, from West of the Andes, looks exactly like the type of Syrmatia aethiops.

for reasons that we explain on the new facts page, we assume that these black Syrmatia from East of the Andes are not aethiops, but simply males of lamia, and also that aethiops probably does not fly East of the Andes.

in 2021 Julian Salazar sent us a picture (second bottom image) taken by Vaclac Pacl at Mocoa-Putumayo, which strengthens our assumption.

and, clicking here you can see a fantastic picture, by John Vallender, of a female S. lamia, as we do not have the authorisation to reproduce it here.


Syrmatia lamia in copula cerca de Mocoa

1 - our starting point has been the obvious differences between the (very few) black Syrmatia we collected East and West of the Andes.

we have four specimens from the Oriente (two from Lumbaqui, one from Macas and one from Juanjuy-Peru) and only one from the West, from Calderón-Esmeraldas.

we've asked some Museums if they could send us pictures of their specimens - with collecting data - and we also looked for pictures on the Internet.

thus we mustered data on A - sixteen specimens from those Museums, two from the West and fourteen from the East, and B - only three reliable records on the Internet, two from East of the Andes and one from Central America, C - two specimens from Costa Rica and one from Tarapoto - Peru, the pictures of which come from Kim Garwood, on top of D - our own specimens and the aethiops type on BoA.

the twenty two black Syrmatia from the East, from Trinidad to Ecuador Oriente and to las Yungas, are all the same, rounded wings and completely black tails, when the six from Central America and from West of the Andes are typical aethiops with their elongated wings and their white tail tips ; thus we have an easy map with two clearly distinct populations. but we must say that the only specimen we saw from Bolivia has a tiny white dot at the tip of the tail.

2 - then we noticed that all (the four of them) our black Syrmatia from the Oriente are males, when the two Syrmatia lamia we have are females, and they come from East of the Andes, as, it would seem, all known lamia.

3 - hence the idea that these black males could be male Syrmatia lamia, they have the same shape, are the same size and fly in the same places ?
referring to Bates description one could infer that "Deep black." is the male description, the remainder of the text being the female description ? if not, why start describing a black and white butterfly by "deep black.period" ?

M & F. 1” 2f". Closely allied to S. Dorilas, Cram., and S. Asteris, G. R. Gray (Griffith’s An. King. pl. 102).    Deep black.    Wings crossed near the base by a white belt, beginning in a point at the forewing median nervure, and widening to the hind-wing abdominal edge ; disk of forewing with an oblong-oval glossy white spot. Tips of tails white.
Body, antennæ, and legs black.

the mating pair picture taken by Vaclav Pacl is grist to our assumption ; so, DNA sequencing should be the next step.

and we want to thank, for their help, Marianne Elias - MNHN Paris, Blanca Huertas - BM(NH) London, Keith Willmott - McGuire Center Gainesville, Theo Léger and Viola Richter - MfN Berlin and Kim Garwood.


Sucúa, Morona Santiago, Ecuador
Sucúa, Morona Santiago, Ecuador
Juanjuy, San Marcos, Peru
Juanjuy, San Marcos, Peru
Lumbaqui, Sucumbíos, Ecuador
Lumbaqui, Sucumbíos, Ecuador
Lumbaqui, Sucumbíos, Ecuador
Lumbaqui, Sucumbíos, Ecuador
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