Butterflies and Moths of Sri Lanka


Family Satyridae Browns or Satyrs

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Some modern authors consider this family as a subfamily of Nymphalidae but from the tradition it was considered as a separate family. Many other authors accept the traditional classification of Satyridea as a separate family. Major similarities of the family Satyridae that they separate from other Nymphalids are,

  • similarity of early stages
  • unlike other Nymphalids avoid sunshine
  • Prefer shady places all the day and appear in early morning and late afternoon or evening till dusk.
  • Rarely visits flowers
  • almost all can be taken on bait

Featurs of Family Satyridae

1. Small to medium size butterflies. Most are dull coloured

2. Forelegs modified in to brushes and are not suited for walking

3. Very few species possess 'tail'; Many are ornamented with eye spots (ocelli) and fine streaks on the surface of underside (Picture 02).

4. Sex marks appear on the wings of most males

  • either on the forewing
  • or on the costal margin of the hindwing (hair-pencil-like structure/ androconia)

4. They are well protected from predators by having dull colouration and crepuscular habits (active in dusk) (Picture 01).

5. Some of the members (Elymnias) mimic poisonous butterfly species of other families.

  Painted Lady  
  Picture 02. - Vannisa cardui involve in migration.  

6. Flight is weak and stay long period in resting position with no movements.

7. Satyrids show sexual and seasonal dimorphism.

8. Food plants belong to Gramineae (Poaceae) and Palmaceae.


Family Satyridae in Sri Lanka

There are 16 species in Sri Lanka with five endemic species

Table. Number of Species from each genus

Genus Group
Number of Species
Elymnias  Palmflies
Lethe Treebrowns
Melanitis Eveningbrowns
Mycalesis Bushbrowns
Nisanga Gladeye
Orsotriaena Niger brown
Ypthima Rings

Species Account

>>> Click here

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Class: Insecta

Order: Lepidoptera

Sub-order: Ditrysia

Super Family: Papilionoidea

Family: Satyridae


male Scent patch
Picture 01. Dark Eveningbrown. Satyridae are well protected from predators by having dull colouration
Female has no Scent patch
Picture 02. Many are ornamented with eye spots(ocelli) and fine streaks on the surface of underside

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