Agrias (Agrias claudina)

Agrias claudina with tongue extended
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Agrias fact file

Agrias description

GenusAgrias (1)

Agrias claudina is a stunning member of the genus Agrias, which are amongst the most vividly marked and beautiful butterflies in the world. These butterflies are recognised by their strongly patterned wings, and the males of all Agrias species have prominent yellow tufts on the hind wings that spread pheromones used to entice females to mate (2) (3)

The adult Agrias claudina is beautifully coloured with various black, brown, red, gold and blue markings. The caterpillar when fully grown is olive brown, plump and tapers towards the rear, which bears a pair of twisted tails. The neck of the caterpillar is relatively narrow and the head is rather large in proportion to the body. The chrysalis is pale green, rounded, and tapers sharply towards the head (2) (3).


Agrias biology

Active only during the morning on hot days, Agrias claudina spends most of its life high in the canopy of tropical forests, and is rarely observed except when attracted to food along trails and other forest clearings. The adult Agrias claudina feeds on rotting fruits and mammal dung, with the female particularly attracted to rotten fruits and fish (2) (3)

It is unclear which host plant species Agrias claudina lays its eggs upon, but it is likely that it is a flowering plant within the genus Erythroxylum. The eggs are smooth, round and laid one by one underneath the leaves of the foodplant, with up to 100 eggs laid in total. The larvae feed at night and rest on twigs during the day. The chrysalis is suspended from a stem or leaf of the foodplant (2) (3).


Agrias range

Agrias claudina has been recorded in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil (2).


Agrias habitat

Inhabiting primary and secondary rainforest, Agrias claudina is found mainly at altitudes between about 200 and 1,000 metres, although there is a record of it occurring at 1,200 metres (2).


Agrias status

Agrias claudina has yet to be assessed by the IUCN.


Agrias threats

Like many other species of butterfly in South America, the global status of Agrias claudina has not yet been assessed. However, it is listed as Vulnerable on the Brazilian Red List as its forest habitat is under threat from logging, which is extensive across Brazil. In areas such as Matto Grosso, the conversion of forest to small-scale permanent agriculture is the main threat to this species’ habitat (2).


Agrias conservation

Agrias claudina has not been the target of any known conservation measures.


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Pupa of a butterfly.
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Stage in an animal’s lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
Primary rainforest
Rainforest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
Secondary rainforest
Rainforest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary rainforest.


  1. O’Toole, C. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Insects and their Allies. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  2. Natural History Museum-  Agrias claudina (January, 2011)
  3. Learn About Butterflies - Agrias claudina (January, 2011)

Image credit

Agrias claudina with tongue extended  
Agrias claudina with tongue extended

© Luiz Claudio Marigo

Luiz Claudio Marigo
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Tel: +55 (21) 2285 4646
Fax: +55 (21) 2556 1832


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