Purple Mort Bleu – Eryphanis polyxena
Wingspread: 3.6-4.1 inches.
Range: Guatemala to Brazil
Elevational range: Sea Level to 2,400 feet.
This large butterfly is found in the shady understory of lowland and premontane rainforest habitats, where at a distance, it gives the appearance of being a Caligo butterfly because of the bluish to purple markings on portions of the wings. At rest the wings quickly close to conceal the dorsal surfaces and a much more cryptic brownish ventral surface makes it hard to spot. There are small eyespots on the underside of the hindwing that are similar to but much smaller than those of the Caligo butterflies.
The Host plants on which the caterpillars feed include members of the bamboo family (Poaceae), including Lasiacis procerrima and Paspalum virgatum. The Purple Mort Bleu is readily attracted to feet on rotten bananas at feeders in the Tropical lowlands.