Riodinidae are a pantropical family, with the majority of species occurring in the neotropics.
Although Erycinidae Swainson 1827 appears to be a senior name to Riodinidae Grote 1895, the type genus Erycina Fabricius 1807 is a junior homonym of Erycina Lamarck 1805 (a genus of bivalve mollusk). A family-group name cannot be based on a generic name that is a junior homonym (ICZN Article 39), so Swainson's Erycinidae is invalid. The Commission ruled (ICZN opinion 1073, 1977) that the family group name for this taxon should be Riodinidae Grote 1895 (1827), based on the replacement generic name Riodina that was selected by Westwood , even though there are alternative family-group names with priority (e. g., Nemeobiinae Bates ; Mesosemiini Bates 1859). (Bates employed Erycinidae as the family-group name for these subordinate taxa). This is one of the more confusing puzzles in butterfly nomenclature.
Nearctic, Palearctic, Oriental, Ethiopian, Neotropical, Australian, Oceanic Island
Geographic Range description:
World-wide distribution, but occur mostly in the Neotropics.
Egg mass pattern:
Almost nothing about oviposition patterns and clutch sizes is known for riodinids. Rearing records suggest that most females lay single eggs. Some species of Euselasia, Melanis, and Emesis lay clusters of eggs, and some species (Eurybia, Ancyluris, Emesis, Thisbe, Theope, and Nymphidium) show variation in the numbers of eggs they lay - sometimes a single egg, and sometimes multiple (DeVries et al 1994) Many riodinids defend their eggs by laying them in crevices in bark, leaves or off the host plant, so as to be protected from parasitoids. Some riodinids also have evolved protective interactions with ants, and only lay their eggs where the appropriate ant species is found.
Description of egg morphology:
Riodinid eggs are remarkably varied, many are distinct from all other butterfly eggs. Downey and Allyn (1981) put together a terminology of 7 disctinct forms of lycaenid eggs that is also useful in describing riodinid eggs. 1. "echinoid shape" (Emesis tenedia, Synargis phylleus) 2. "fustrum shape" - a cone with the top sliced off (Euselasia; unusual among butterflies) 3. "tiarate" or crown shaped (Symmachia tricolor) 4. Single flattened pie (Eurybia) 5. Two stacked pies (Lasaia) 6. An ornate pastry (Helicopis and Nymphidium) 7. A soccer ball enclosed in a net bag (Thisbe, Juditha, Synargis) Riodinid and lycaenid eggs differ in that riodinids typically do not have plastrons (highly porous areas of the chorion) that are numerous on lycaenid eggs. DeVries, 1997.
Harvey 1987 notes that a character unique to the Riodinidae is the presence of more than two mandibular setae.
Larval body description:
Often onisciform and frequently hairy.
Overall shape and manner of pupation shows great variability in the Riodinidae. Some are round and squat (Euselasia), some blocky and angular (Leucochimona, Mesosemia), some bear lateral spines (Ancyluris, Necyria), some are smoothly elongate (Theope), some are very similar to lycaenid pupae (Chalodeta), some are enclosed in a cocoon (Anteros, Sarota), some are suspended as are Nymphalid pupae (Emesis, Lepricornis). Harvey (1987) documented that the silk girdle passes across A1 in most Riodinidae (and all Pieridae). The exceptions to this are that the silk girdle passes across A2 in members of the Mesosemia, and in the genus Apodemia and some Emesis, the silk girdle passes across the interface of T3 and A1. DeVries (1996) notes that the cremaster of riodinid pupae is often broader than the cremaster in other butterflies. This trait often allows for a quick way to identify pupae in the field. Riodinid butterflies have cryptic pupae. Some riodinid pupae have abdominal stridulatory organis, indicating that they may (like some lycaenid pupae) produce sounds that might function in dissuading predators.
While most riodinids pupate without a cocoon, some genera (Anteros, Sarota) are enclosed within a cocoon composed of the long setae from the caterpillar.
Adult Thorax Morphology
The male forelegs are reduced, with the tarsomeres fused and pretarsi rarely bearing claws. Not used for walking (Robbins 1988). The coxa extends as a spine-like structure to below the articulation point of the trochanter. (From Scoble, 1992)
Many species are brightly colored and wing-shape is diverse.
Life History and Behavior
Larvae of some species within the tribes Eurybiini, Lemoniini, and Nymphidiini are associated with ants. Some caterpillars from the subfamily Euselasiinae are gregarious feeders. Species with semi-gregarious behaviors can be found in the tribes Eurybiini, Riodinini, Emesini, Lemoniini, Nymphidiini (all subfamily Riodininae). DeVries et al 1994.
Life History: Immature Stages
Riodinids usually pupate as solitary individuals. They may pupate in leaf litter, crannies in tree bark, rolled leaves, and some even in ant nests. Some species of Hades, Euselasia, and Emesis do pupate gregariously.
Larval food items include:
Highly diverse diet. Include:
Larval food habits description:
Among all the butterflies, riodinids and lycaenids have the broadest range of food items, including plant leaves and flowers, insects, insect secretions. They also show great diversity in terms of their patterns of host use, ranging from specialist feeders (e.g. THisbe irenea), to generalists which may feed on plants fro more than a dozen families.
Evolution and Systematics
Systematic and taxonomic history
Nomenclature: Although Erycinidae Swainson 1827 appears to be a senior name to Riodinidae Grote 1895, the type genus Erycina Fabricius 1807 is a junior homonym of Erycina Lamarck 1805 (a genus of bivalve mollusk). A family-group name cannot be based on a generic name that is a junior homonym (ICZN Article 39), so Swainson's Erycinidae is invalid. The Commission ruled (ICZN opinion 1073, 1977) that the family group name for this taxon should be Riodinidae Grote 1895 (1827), based on the replacement generic name Riodina that was selected by Westwood , even though there are alternative family-group names with priority (e. g., Nemeobiinae Bates ; Mesosemiini Bates 1859). (Bates employed Erycinidae as the family-group name for these subordinate taxa). This is one of the more confusing puzzles in butterfly nomenclature. The Riodinidae have been included in the Lycaenidae as the subfamily Riodininae by Ehrlich (1958) and by Kristensen (1976).
Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships
The tree shown is implied by classifications of Harvey (1987), Corbet et al. (1992), Campbell et al. (2000), Hall (2003) and Lamas (2004), and should be viewed as an informal hypothesis in need of corroboration.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:3931
Specimens with Barcodes:3756
Species With Barcodes:360
The Riodinidae (or metalmarks) are a family of butterflies. The common name "metalmarks" refers to the small metallic-looking spots commonly found on their wings. There are 1532 species and 146 genera of metalmark butterflies in the world. Although mostly neotropical in distribution, the family is represented both in the Nearctic and the Old World.
The family includes small to medium-sized species, from 12 to 60 mm wingspan, often with vibrant structural colouring. The wing shape is very different within the family. They may resemble butterflies in other groups, some are similar to Satyrinae, some are bright yellow reminiscent of Coliadinae and others (examples Barbicornis, Rhetus arcius, Helicopis, Chorinea) have tails as do Papilionidae . The colouration ranges from muted colours in the temperate zone species to iridescent blue and green wings and transparent wings in tropical species The golden or silvery metallic spots on the wings in many species of the Americas gave them the English common name "Metalmarks". A number of species mimic poisonous moths of several families and there are often extensive mimicry rings of similar-looking species, grouped around a model. Mimicry causes are often closely related species to have completely different wing patterns, for example the genus Thisbe Many species mimic the stain and stripe pattern of toxic (Nymphalidae). Batesian mimicry seems to be more common than in any other insect family of similar size Reasons for this are unknown. Another example is Ithomeis where different subspecies resemble the species they mimic in different parts of the geographic range more than they resemble each other.
The delimitation from the closely related Lycaenidae by morphological autapomorphy is difficult . The first pair of legs of the males, which arises on the prothorax, is less than half as long as the legs of the pterothorax and they are not used for walking. The individual segments of the tarsus are sometimes fused together and fused with the tibia, and the pretarsi have no claws. This feature is also found in some Lycaenidae(and also the Monotrysia), but in these the legs are always much longer. The sensory hairs on the tarsi of the female forelimbs are arranged in a group. These groups which are arranged in pairs can be found in the other taxa of the Papilionoidea. The third problematic apomorphy is the absence of the rear projections (apophyses) of the female genitalia. This feature (absence) is found as well in some species of the subfamily of Poritiinae.
In almost all Riodinidae, the coxae of the front legs are extended males jutting out over the trochanter (only hinted at in Styx infernalis and Corrachia leucoplaga ). If there are similar projections in Lycaenidae (in genera Curetis, Feniseca, Poritia), they are built differently in detail and may be, for example dorsally convex ). In addition, almost all Riodinidae in contrast to the Lycaenidae have a humeral vein in the hind wings and the costa is thickened (exceptions in the subfamily Hamearinae). The head in relation to the eyes is wider than in Lycaenidae, making the antennal bases further away from the eye. The relatively long antennae often reach half of the front wing length.
Riodinidae have an unusual variety in chromosome numbers, only some very basal groups have the number typical for butterflies (n = 29-31) or the n characteristic of Lycaenidae (n = 23 to 24). Numbers between 9 and 110 occur. In some cases, representatives of a morphologically indistinguishable cryptospecies have different chromosome numbers and are reproductively isolated.
Like the lycaenids, the males of this family have reduced forelegs while the females have full-sized, fully functional forelegs. The foreleg of males is often reduced and has a uniquely shaped first segment (the coxa) which extends beyond its joint with the second segment, rather than meeting it flush. They have a unique venation on the hindwing: the costa of the hind wing is thickened out to the humeral angle and the humeral vein is short.
Taxonomy and systematics
Riodinidae is currently treated as a distinct family within the superfamily Papilionoidea, but in the past they were held to be the subfamily Riodininae of the Lycaenidae. Earlier, they were considered to be part of the now defunct family Erycinidae, whose species are divided between this family and the subfamily Libytheinae.
Today, most systematists prefer to accept an independent family even if there are counter-arguments. Based on morphological studies Ackery et al. in the manual of Zoology (Kristensen 1998, cf. literature) placed Riodininae within the Lycaenidae. Kristensen et al. accepted the updating of the manual in 2007 raising the classification to family rank at least on a provisional basis .
The family Riodinidae consists of three subfamilies. They are:
- Euselasiinae – a handful of genera New World (Americas)
- Nemeobiinae – sometimes treated as a tribe, Nemeobiini, but which of the remaining two subfamilies it would belongs is uncertain. see Riodinidae incertae sedis.
- Riodininae – some dozens of genera New World (Americas)
Genera of uncertain position
- Hamearis – Duke of Burgundy (Zemerini or distinct subfamily Hamearinae?)
- Taxila – Orange Harlequin
- Tribe Abisarini
- Tribe Nemeobiini
- Tribe Zemerini
Species occur in a variety of different habitats, but have a unique distribution focus in the tropical rain forests of South America. Many species are rarely found and have a relatively small distribution area. Species of the genus Charis were therefore used to reconstruct the history of the forest of the Amazon basin: each of the 19 species has a vicariant distribution area, three originally separate forests (upper, lower Amazonas, Guyana) can be derived from the relationship of between the species.
The food plants for the caterpillars include total more than 40 different plant families. Mostly young leaves or flowers are used, and rarely fallen, dead leaves or lichen are eaten. The larvae feed mostly individually not gregariously. However, gregarious caterpillars are found within the Euselasiinae (Euselasia), Riodinini (Melanis) and Emesini (Emesis), with some species demonstrating processionary behaviors. Available evidence from Euselasia and Hades suggests the gregarious trait may be widespread among members of the subfamily Euselasiinae.
The larva of Setabis lagus (Riodininae: Nymphidiini), is predatory. There are records of predation on larvae of Horiola sp. (family Membracidae) as well as scale insects (Coccidae). Predatory feeding has also been shown in Alesa amesis. A number of species associate and are protected by ants during one or more stages of their life cycle. 
A study in Ecuador based on adult male feeding records for 124 species in 41 genera of Riodinidae (out of a total of 441 species in 85 genera collected in the study) demonstrated that rotting fish and other carrion was the most frequently used food source in terms of numbers of individuals and taxa, attracting 89 species from 32 genera. Other food substrates visited in this study included flowers, damp sand or mud puddling
The eggs vary in shape but often appear round and flattened, some have the shape of a dome or a turban. They are similar to the eggs of Lycaenidae. The caterpillars are usually hairy, plump, and are the common overwintering stage. The caterpillars are usually longer than those of the Lycaenidae except in the myrmecophilous species.Pupae are hairy and attached with silk to either the host plant or to ground debris or leaf litter. There is no cocoon.
Several genera of Riodinidae have evolved intimate associations with ants, and their larvae are tended and defended by ant associates. This also is the case with several linages of Lycaenidae and contributed to arguments for the uniting the two families. It is now recognized that myrmecophily arose several times among Riodinidae and Lycaenidae clades. But there are counter arguments.
Like their sister family Lycaenidae, numerous species of Riodinidae are myrmecophiles (involving about 280 ant species). The larvae of many species have special organs, of which have a soothing or tempting effect on ants. Many Riodinidae larvae have so-called "tentacle nectary organs" on the eighth segment of the abdomen that secrete a fluid which is eaten by ants. Other tentacle organs on the third thoracic segment have been shown to emit allomones which influence ants. Studies suggest caterpillar acoustic signals are used to enhance their symbioses with ants (see singing caterpillars). The location of riodinid organs that function in caterpillar-ant symbioses differs from those found in the Lycaenidae, suggesting that the organs in these two families of butterflies are not homologous in origin. 
The larvae feed on plants of the families Araceae, Asteraceae, Bromeliaceae, Bombacaceae, Cecropiaceae, Clusiaceae, Dilleniaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Lecythidaceae, Loranthaceae, Malpighiaceae, Marantaceae, Melastomataceae, Myrtaceae, Orchidaceae, Rubiaceae, Sapindaceae, Zingiberaceae as well as bryophytes and lichens.
The importance of Riodinidae species considered pests is very low. Some species of Euselasiinae feed on Myrtaceae of economic importance such as guava. A few Riodininae are specified as harmful to farmed Bromeliceae or Orchidaceae.
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