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Giant Metalmark (Behemothia godmanii)

Species Details

(Note the long banded antennae which are characteristic of the Riodinidae family)

Gomez-Farias (El Cielo) Tamaulipas, Mexico
September 10, 2006 (Ricardo Jimenez)



Gomez-Farias (El Cielo) Tamaulipas, Mexico
September 10, 2006 (Ricardo Jimenez)


(sans flash)

Gomez-Farias (El Cielo) Tamaulipas, Mexico
September 10, 2006 (Ricardo Jimenez)

****El Cielo Butterfly Festival November 1-5, 2006.

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 Note, Ricardo Jimenez lives in Gomez Farias and will be assisting with the El Cielo Festival

Species Details

(compiled by Mike Quinn, TPWD)

Excerpts from Hall (2000):

Behemothia godmanii (Dewitz 1877), formerly treated in Pandemos.

Diagnosis. The single species of Behemothia, B. godmanii, bears little resemblance to any other riodinid. The combination of its large size, markedly falcate forewing apex, black scaling at the base of the dorsal hindwing and ventral forewing, and russet-brown dorsal ground color covered with lilac and blue scaling in the male is unique.

Etymology. The name is derived from the Hebrew word "behemoth", meaning "enormous animal," in reference to the huge size of this species, one of the largest in the Riodinidae.

Biology: Very little is known about the biology of the single Behemothia species, godmanii. Museum label data indicate that this uncommon species occurs primarily in  relatively dry semi-deciduous woodlands, and de la Maza and de la Maza (1993) report it as occurring from 100 to 700 m in Chiapas, Mexico. DeVries (1997) reports finding a female in Belize perched beneath a branch with its wings folded over the body and the forewings dropped back into the hindwings. The foodplants and early stages remain undiscovered, but the position of Behemothia godmanii in the Nymphidiini indicates that the larvae will be myrmecophilous (Harvey 1987).

Distribution: Behemothia godmanii is known to range from central Mexico to Costa Rica.


DeVries, P.J. 1997. The butterflies of Costa Rica and their natural history. Vol. II: Riodinidae. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, xxv + 288 pp.

Hall, J.P.W. 2000. Two new genera in the Neotropical riodinid tribe Nymphidiini Riodinidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 54(2):41-46.

Harvey, D. 1987. The higher classification of the Riodinidae (Lepidoptera). Ph.D Dissertation. University of Texas, Austin. vii + 216 pp.

Maza, R.G. de la & J. de la Maza. 1993. Mariposas de Chiapas. Mexico: Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas. 224 pp.

 Additional notes:

DeVries (1997) included this species in his Costa Rican field guide based on a single specimen taken in the Pacific lowland deciduous forest of Parque Nacional Santa Rosa, Guanacaste in December.

De la Maza and de la Maza (1993) picture a male and female specimen with the following caption, "Pandemos godmani, rara especie dedicada a Frederick Ducane Godman."

Garwood & Lehman (2005) report this species from Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi. They show a male specimen collected in Tamaulipas by Jesus Garcia. Kim Garwood (pers. com.) reports seeing it only once previously in the coastal lowlands of Tamaulipas.

Garwood, K. & R. Lehman. 2005. Butterflies of Northeastern Mexico: Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas - A Photographic Checklist. 2nd Edition. Eye Scry Publishing, McAllen, TX. x + 187 pp.


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