Guatemalan Cracker (Hamadryas guatemalena [Bates])
Wing span: 3 - 3 7/8 inches (7.6 - 9.8 cm).
Identification: Upper surface is patterned with brown, gray, and tan; outer half of forewing is lighter and there is a red bar in the cell. Upper hindwing has eyespots with a mottled brown and white center circled in blue, then a wide black ring, and outside of that, another blue ring. Underside is tan and white; forewing with a large white spot below apex, hindwing with submarginal black rings.
Life history: Eggs are laid singly underneath mature leaves of the host plant. Adults perch on tree trunks head downward with their wings spread open; males await females and make a cracking noise when they dart out at other insects. Before dark, adults gather on a single tree, then disperse to roost in nearby trees or shrubs.
Flight: All year long in the tropics; August in South Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: Vine Dalechampia in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae).
Adult food: Sap, dung, and rotting fruit.
Habitat: Tropical forest edges, stream valleys, and cutover areas.
Range: Costa Rica north through Central America to Mexico. A rare stray to the lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.
Conservation: Not required for a rare tropical stray.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: None reported.
Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo.