Agrias Butterflies: The Gems of the Insect World

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Our Mission Statement

The genus Agrias, in the minds of the authors, are the true gems of the insect world. The creation of this site is to share with other collectors and, indeed, the world at large the incomparable beauty of the natural world as evidenced through these magnificent butterflies. The specimens on display, with a very few exceptions, are from the Robert E. Aronheim collection put together over thirty five years and subsequently donated to the Smithsonian Museum. We hope that and encourage other collectors to send photos from their own collection so that we can update this site periodically. Of course, full credit will be given to contributors.

The authors wish to make it unequivocally clear that they are keen, enthusiastic amateurs and in no way purport to represent this endeavor as anything other than what it is: a pictorial display for those who visit our web site.

Manfred Spaeth, a fine Agrias collector, has recently published a wonderful book on Agrias revising the genus. He may be right, but we have elected to use the long accepted nomenclature by Rebilliard and beautifully illustrated in Paul Barselou's wonderful classic book2. The reason for this is that most specimens in museums and private collections today are identified using Rebilliard. We have, like Spaeth, with some exceptions, identified the specimens only to the subspecific level because this is the format used by museums. While there are hundreds of forms described in literature, the authors believe that most represent variations of specific species, for the Agrias genus is one of tremendous variability.

The authors feel that the correct nomenclature is, to paraphrase Winston Churchill when describing Russia, a mystery wrapped up in a puzzle wrapped up in an enigma. There may never be a solution for the following reasons:
1. Many collectors through all the years of collecting have given bogus data to protect their sources.
2. This genus because of its high commercial value and variability has had several hundred forms described, the thought being that a new "form" could command a far greater price.
3. Most countries in a belated effort to protect their fauna have limited or banned altogether any export.
4. This is the most critical: The reduction of Rain Forests, the habitat(s) of our subject, continues at a horrific pace. Who knows how long this genus along with all forms of life can be sustained under these conditions? Very little is even known about the life cycles of these magnificent creatures.

We encourage your feedback: additions, corrections, suggestions and comments in general...Send correspondence to

We look forward to your responses to the site!