There is a great number of Charaxinae (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) species in the tropics whose larvae feed on several plant families. However the genus Anaea is almost always associated with Croton species (Euphorbiaceae). This work describes patterns of host plant use by immature and adult abundance on different vertical strata of sympatric Anaea species in a forest of Southeastern Brazil. Quantitative samples of leaves were taken in April/1999 and May/2000 to collect eggs and larvae of four Anaea species on C.alchorneicarpus, C. floribundus and C. salutaris in a semideciduous forest. Sampled leaves were divided into three classes of plant phenological stage: saplings, shrubs and trees. The results showed that the butterfly species are segregating in host plant use on two scales: host plant species and plant phenological stages. C. alchorneicarpus was used by only one Anaea species, whereas C. floribundus was used by three species and C. salutaris by four Anaea species. There was one Anaea species concentrated on sapling, another on sapling/shrub and two others on shrub/tree leaves. Adults of Anaea were more frequent at canopy traps but there were no differences among species caught in traps at different vertical positions. This work supplements early studies on host plant use among Charaxinae species and it describes how a guild of closely related butterfly species may be organized in a complex tropical habitat.
Nymphalidae; Charaxinae; Anaea; Memphis; Croton