Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing

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Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing

Freshly emerged male sipping on mango

Description: 20-21 mm. This species is dark brown above with a violet iridescent sheen on the dorsal side. Fresh specimens have spectacular purple color in the right light. There is a series of white dots on the forewing. Females have two color forms. One form has brighter violet coloration than the males do. The other form is void of any iridescence or violet color at all. Females also have more noticable white forewing spots. Ventral side is drab brown but has a light iridescent violet sheen when fresh.

 

Habitat and Distribution: Tropical hardwood hammocks on Dade County, the Keys, the Caribbean and Central and South America. It has been reported from most of the larger Keys that have hardwood hammocks. 

 

Host Plant: Gumbo limbo (Bursera simaruba)

 

Natural History: Despite hundreds of hours walking around the hammocks of the northern Keys, we have not confirmed any sitings of the dingy purplewing. We have found them abundant in a few locations in Dade County and we believe we saw an individual in North Key Largo in 2005 but the sighting was not confirmed. This species has migratory tendancies and its host plant is abundant throughout the Keys so it is likely that it goes through population explosions at times but then appears to rapidly decline for some reason. Larve are highly gregarious and can be found most easily by locating larval "tents" on new growth of the gumbo limbo tree. Adults enjoy rotting fruit.

 

Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing larval tent

Larval cluster

4th instar larvae

Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing larva

Larval cluster

4th instar larvae

Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing

Adults feeding

happily on fruit

Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing larval tent

Larval cluster

4th instar larvae

Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing

Freshly emerged male

sipping on mango

Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing

Freshly emerged female

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Species Pages

Gumbo Limbo tree

larval host

Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing larva

Final instar larva

Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing larva

Final instar larva

Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing pupa

Chrysalis

Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing pupa

Chrysalids

Eunica monima, Dingy Purplewing

Freshly emerged male

sipping on sweat