Castalia Green Mantle - closeup, La Isla Escondida, Colombia
A jewel of the unique lower Andes to Amazonian region. I first saw photos of these beauties online about 2 years ago, and on this epic hike we unexpectedly saw a wish fulfilled. Somebody else has described their beauty better than I can:
"The genus Caria contains some of the most beautiful and elusive species on Earth. Although fairly common they are rarely seen due to their secretive habits, and are virtually impossible to follow in flight. Once seen these glittering jewels of the Amazon are never forgotten.
Lepidopterists often feel quite overwhelmed by the beauty of these butterflies, but initial feelings of ecstasy are soon replaced by the rapid onset of frustration, anguish, despair and an uncontrollable urge to spend the next 2 hours hawking relentlessly in the vicinity of the sighting, peering into bushes, crawling about on the ground and searching every nook and cranny, while muttering and pleading with the butterfly to reveal itself !"
- https://www.learnaboutbutterflies.com/Amazon - Caria rhacotis.htm
What I had not anticipated from the photos seen online earlier is how tiny they are in real life.