Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed or four-footed butterflies) The first pair of legs are small or reduced, giving the family the other names of four-footed or brush-footed butterflies.
Subfamily: Heliconiinae (passion-vine butterflies)

Genus/species: Dryadula phaetusa

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Males are bright orange with heavy black stripes dorsally (above); striking and quite different brown, orange, and white pattern below. Females somewhat duller with blurred black stripes.

Dryadula phaetusa 3129818320_9e962aa397_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: The Banded Orange Heliconian is native throughout the continental Neotropics, from central Mexico to Brazil; summer migrant in U.S. north to Kansas. It is usually found in disturbed lowland areas. Adults roost in small groups on grass.

DIET IN THE WILD: Caterpillars feed on various host passion-flower vine species; adults feed primarily on nectar and bird droppings.

REPRODUCTION: Eggs are laid singly on stems and leaves of host plants. Larvae of all heliconiines are spiny, have two spines on the head capsule. The inactive pupae are suspended with the body held either horizontal or vertical to the substrate and metamorphose into adults.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: They are long lived for butterflies. Heliconius spp. are among the Methuselahs of the butterfly world. Most butterflies live only days; some Heliconians in the adult (butterfly) stage, including the Heliconius melpomene, live for as long as 8 months. 

Banded Orange Heliconian aka Orange Tiger (wing bottom)Dryadula phaetusa Dryadula phaetusa

REMARKS: The Banded Orange is the sole member of its genus. The genus is distinguished by having shorter, broader wings and shorter antennae than others in the heliconiine subfamily.


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