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