Metalmark Butterflies - Riodinidae
Metalmark Butterflies - Riodinidae

Metalmark Butterflies - Riodinidae

The metalmarks are a family of small, brightly coloured butterflies found all over the world. They get their name from the small metallic-looking spots commonly found on their wings.

While metalmarks are all colourful, those that live in tropical areas are by far the most sensational, particularly ones like the glittering sapphire metalmark from South America which has wings of iridescent blue and green.

A strange feature of this family is that, although the females have six full-sized, fully functional legs, the males only have four fully functional legs. The male’s two front legs are much smaller and aren’t used for walking.

Metalmark butterflies are not poisonous, but often use mimicry to dissuade would-be predators from eating them by having similar wing shapes, colours and patterns to toxic butterfly or moth species.

- How many species of Metalmark Butterfly are there?
- Male Metalmark butterflies only use 4 of their legs for walking... what do they use the other pair for?
- Match the pictures of the 10 butterfly species below & then colour them. I've gotten you started with the Blue Metalmark top left... They're not in order.

- 1. Blue Metalmark 2. Little Metalmark 3. Smith's Pixie 4. Zela Metalmark
5. Apollo Metalmark 6. Tailed Blue Metalmark 7. Apollo Metalmark 8. Anius metalmark
9. Octauius swordtail 9. Starry Night Metalmark

- What is the largest species of Metalmark butterfly and which is the smallest?

Things to consider colouring your Butterflies

- If you don't have more than one brown pencil / pen you can mix up your own colours by blending the pencils you have, yellow & blue can make green, yellow and red can make orange and so on. Just remember to colour lightly to build the colours up... if you go too dark too early, you can't add more colour.
- It's best to practise mixing your colours on another sheet of paper first.

Get your image

To learn more about this species and hundreds of others, check out my books Hidden Planet and Sensational Butterflies, available from Ladybird books.
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