Cook (Anartia fatima) Spanish name: Cocinera
About The Cook
This butterfly is common in open areas around much of Costa Rica, particularly areas disrupted by human development. At middle and high elevations, they can be found in forests, along landslides, and around riparian zones.
From the southern United States and Mexico, the range of this butterfly extends down to Panama. In Costa Rica it can be found on both the Pacific and Atlantic slopes up to 1,500 m in elevation.
Guanacaste National Park, Wilson Botanical Garden, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Children’s Eternal Rainforest Reserve, Poás Volcano National Park, and La Amistad International Park.
The adult cook is a warm brown color with long yellow or white bands across all four wings on the upper surface. On each lower wing there is also a red stripe. The cook caterpillar is difficult to find in the wild. The body is black with white or reddish spots and short spines. The head is black with two spiny horns.
Biology and Natural History
One of the more common butterflies in Costa Rica, the cook is active throughout the day in the shade or the sun, crossing between second-growth flowers. Females wait for direct sunshine to lay their eggs, so they may be more active in the middle of the day or later if it is still sunny. Males are very territorial, and are out and about beginning in the morning, chasing other males and females—and sometimes humans, birds, or other organisms.
The cook is not poisonous, so many animals find it an acceptable meal. This butterfly avoids birds, lizards, frogs, spiders, mantises, and other insect predators. If they evade all of these, they live for about 2 weeks as adults.
Adults drink the nectar from plants in secondary growth areas. Caterpillars feed on multiple host plants, including Blechum, Justicia, and Ruellia.
This small butterfly has a wingspan of 5.3 to 6 cm.
DeVries, Philip J. The Butterflies of Costa Rica and Their Natural History: Papilionidae, Pieridae and Nymphalidae. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987.
Goode, Mark R. An Introduction to Costa Rican Butterflies. San José, Costa Rica. 1999. ISBN 9977-12-365-9.
Henderson, Carrol L. Field Guide to the Wildlife of Costa Rica. University of Texas Press, Austin, 2002.
Silberglied, R. in Janzen, Daniel H. Costa Rican Natural History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.
Amy Strieter, Wildlife Writer