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Guatemalan Cracker (Hamadryas guatemalena)

Compare to Gray Cracker

(note 2 blue rings on dorsal eyespots)

National Butterfly Center, Mission, Hidalgo Co., Tx
November 21, 2007 (Gil Quintanilla)


Gray Cracker (hamadryas februa)

National Butterfly Center, Mission, Hidalgo Co, Tx
October 20, 2005 (B Bouton)


Santa Ana NWR, Alamo, Hidalgo Co., TX
October 20, 2003 (D Hanson)


Dorsal Field Marks

1) Solid HW cell-end bar, a trait that Guatemalan (Hamadryas  guatemalena) and Variable Crackers (Hamadryas feronia) share. This character rules out Gray (Hamadryas februa) and Glaucous Crackers (Hamadryas glauconome) which have "open" cell-end bars. (Glassberg, 2001)

2) Much is made in a number of publications of how complex the eyespots are in the Guatemalan's submarginal spotband, but due to the constraints of the image quality, these details can not be discerned. However, I believe that a relative uniformity in the pupil size is evident which is most consistent with Guatemalan Crackers. The pupil size in Variable Crackers usually decreases in size from the costal to the anal HW margin.

Ventral Field Marks

3) Several publications note that Guatemalans have a prominent white spot in the FW subapex and that in Variables this feature is faint or absent. This feature appears to be present, but again due to image quality it doesn't appear to be conclusive.

4) Mike Overton stated (pers. comm.) that he uses the size of the dorsal FW white spot in cell M2 to differentiate between these two species. (The M2 cell occupies the space between wing veins M2 and M3.) I personally think this spot is easier to see on the underside and I indicate it here with the 4-O arrow. After looking at a lot of Cracker images, I believe that a distally adjacent spot (also in M2) indicated with the 4-Q arrow  appears to vary in size inversely with the designated 4-O spot. 

In other words:

Variable Cracker Hamadryas feronia 4-O spot >> 4-Q spot 
Guatemalan Cracker Hamadryas  guatemalena 4-O spot  roughly equals 4-Q spot 

Clearly, these two M2 cell spots are approximately equal in size. I feel that the size of these spots along with the other reviewed field marks conclusively demonstrates that this is Hamadryas guatemalena, the Guatemalan Cracker.

These photographs represent a New County Record for Cameron Co., TX. There are less that five U.S. records for Guatemalan Cracker, all from the lower Rio Grande Valley.

Mike Quinn, New Braunfels, TX
May 8, 2003

Photograph Data

Both photographs this page shot by Ellie Thompson in her backyard in Laguna Vista, Cameron Co., TX on July 30, 2000 using a 35mm SLR. Although she was not able to get as close to the butterfly as she would have liked, she had the foresight to get a ventral photograph. For copies of the original scans of her slides, please contact Thompson ( .


Crackers of the U.S., Mexico and the West Indies


Hamadryas februa* Gray Cracker   TX NM MX** W.I.
Hamadryas glauconome Glaucous Cracker AZ MX
Hamadryas glauconome grisea "West Mexican" Glaucous Cracker MX
Hamadryas amphichloe Pale Cracker FL W.I.
Hamadryas honorina Yucatan Cracker MX
Hamadryas atlantis Black-patched Cracker  AZ MX
Hamadryas feronia Variable Cracker TX MX W.I.
Hamadryas guatemalena Guatemalan Cracker TX MX
Hamadryas iphthime Brownish Cracker TX(?)*** MX
Hamadryas fornax Orange Cracker MX
Hamadryas amphinome Red Cracker TX MX W.I.
Hamadryas laodamia Black Cracker  MX

*Linked photos shot by John Shuey in Belize (except for H. honorina?)
**Range for all species listed extends south of Mexico (except for H. honorina).
***One U.S. record from Burnet Co., TX (just northwest of Austin). Nearest population in Veracruz, MX.

Selected References

The Butterflies of Costa Rica and Their Natural History:
Volume I: Papilionidae, Pieridae, Nymphalidae

Philip J. DeVries. 1987
Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 456 pp.

A Field Guide to the Butterflies of the West Indies
Norman D. Riley. 1975
Quadrangle Field Guide Series. New York. 224 pp.

Go Get Set On Your Marks: Cracking the Code
Jeffrey Glassberg. 2001.
American Butterflies, Vol. 9(4): 16-27.

Illustrated Checklist of the Lepidoptera of the Lower Rio Grande Valley
Part 1 : Butterflies

Charles Bordelon & Edward Knudson, 2002.
Houston (private). 84 pp.

Mariposas Mexicanas: Guía para su Colecta y Determinación
Roberto de la Maza Ramírez. 1993. Second Edition
Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, D.F. 302 pp.

Neotropical Nymphalidae I. Revision of Hamadryas
Dale W. Jenkins. 1983. 
Bulletin of the Allyn Museum 81:1-146. (I do not have a copy of this reference. MQ)

24-Nov-2007 / NABASoTx Home