and a yellow band going from top to bottom of the big wings and along the edges of the smaller wings... See the attached picture. Please help me identify this butterfly.
I take it you did not see this in the wild in the UK?!
This is a species of Melanis, which is mainly South American, comprising 27 species and numerous subspecies. They are called pixies.
http://www.butterfliesofamerica.com/L/Neotropical.htm (search for 'Melanis')
I think your specimen is either:
Melanis hillapana (four-spot pixie)
But both those species lack the narrow white margin to the hind wings seen on your specimen.
I can't find one that is an exact match. However, they are all variable to some extent, and your one may still come with the scope of one of the above species.
M. leucophlegma is similar but has a white margin to the hind wings.
I looked up the links and they all resemble the one I have a picture of. The picture was taken in Suriname. I'm sorry didn't mention that. I've lived here all my life, but I've never seen it before.
So location-wise it's likely be the Melanis melandra, but there's no white margin in the hind wings... And like you said, the Melanis in my picture looks like it's inbetween the M. melandra and M. Hillapana on one side and he M. leucophlegma on the other.
Thank you so much, Mike!
To resolve the problem of that white margin to the hindwings, I suggest you email one of the folks on this page
http://butterfliesofamerica.com/L/authors.htm (email addresses in links). Please post here if you get an answer.
While we're on the subject of the wonderful butterflies of Suriname, here are a couple of references:
"Butterflies of Suriname: A Natural History"
by Hajo B.P.E Gernaat, Borgesius G. Beckles, and Tinde van Andel
Neotropical Butterfly Park Suriname
And I can't resist posting a link to this amazingly coloured moth!
Thank you for the links. I will email one of the authors about my picture of this particular Melanis butterfly and will come back here to post their answer.
Nature holds so many wonders, I seem to make a delightful discovery almost every week.
I know about the Butterfly Park, but have yet to visit it. Now I'll make sure to check it out very soon.
I've never seen a moth like that before and now that I know it's in Suriname, I'll look for it!