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Butterflies - The Metal Marks

( Originally Published 1917 )

FAMILY Riodinidae

This small family of very small butterflies contains five genera and a dozen species found in the United States and Mexico. Only two, however, occur in the eastern region and only one extends much north of the Gulf states. Aside from certain peculiarities of the wing-venation (a costal and a humeral vein on the hind wings) these Metals marks may be known by their minuteness and the bright metallic markings on the brown wings.

Both our eastern species belong to the genus Calephelis. The Small Metal mark (C. caenivs) has been collected in Florida and Georgia. The wings are rusty red on both surfaces, brighter below than above, and marked with blackish spots that almost converge to form stripes; in addition to which there are, beyond the middle of each wing, two lines made by special scales that glisten with a steel glitter. The wings expand only about three quarters of an inch. So far as I can learn, the egg, larva, or pupa have never been described.

The Large Metal-mark is called by science Calephelis borealis, but it deserves the latter name only in the sense that it is more northern than its allies. It has been collected as far north as New York and Michigan, but it seems to be very seldom found, at least in eastern regions. It expands a little more than an inch. The general color of the wings is yellowish brown, marked with blackish dots and lines, together with rows of steely spots on the under surface. In this case also the life-history is unknown.

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