Tag Archive: brushfooted butterflies


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (Moths and butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (brush footed butterflies)

Genus/species: Heliconius hecale

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: All Heliconius species have long black wings bearing simple but striking patterns, typically featuring streaks or patches of red and cream, or blue and cream. Several including hecale have subspecies which mimic ‘tiger complex’ orange and black. In fact every one of the 29 hecale subspecies mimics. They are all toxic to birds. Studies have provided strong evidence that birds which eat the them suffer from nausea and vomiting.

4427846261_2cb9a749fa_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found from Central America south throughout Amazonia. Habitat: Occurs from sea level to 1,400 m (4600 feet) in tall forests.

DIET IN THE WILD: they nectar at Hamelia, Lantana and Palicourea. Females feed on pollen as well as nectar.

Ventral or wing bottom

Tiger Longwing 3779879064_915dfdc8af_b

REMARKS: Heliconians are brightly colored butterflies with especially long wings, hence the common name. Tiger Longwings and many other Heliconians are communal roosters. Each night a number of butterflies, either of the same or related species, assemble for the night, often on a single branch.

References

California Academy of Sciences 2017

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-13X

AWD http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Heliconius_hecale/classification/

EOL http://eol.org/pages/154228/details

Butterflies of Mexico, USA and Canada. www.learnaboutbutterflies.com/North%20America%20-%20Helic…

Tree of life project www.tolweb.org/Heliconius_hecale/72904

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Heliconius sara

Sara Longwing (top wing)Heliconius sara

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Upper wing surface (dorsal) is black with large patch of metallic blue framed by two white bands. Underside (ventral) is brown-black with faded white bars above and small red spots near the body.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Widespread throughout Central America and the tropics of South America, including the Amazon Basin. Usually found  flying  slowly in the middlestory of rainforests.

REPRODUCTION: Pupal maters. Males don’t even wait until the female emerges from the pupa. Instead they physically break open her pupa and copulate as soon as her genitalia are accessible.  Larvae of sara longwing butterflies avoid harm from cyanogenic leaves by metabolizing cyanogenic glycosides enzymatically.

Sara Longwing Heliconius sara 3142858049_b1047eaf55_o

LONGEVITY: Adult life span: 2–3 months.

REMARKS: Passion flowers contain toxic compounds to which caterpillars are immune; like monarchs, the caterpillars concentrate the toxin in their tissues and pass it along to the adult during metamorphosis. Research suggests that adult Heliconian butterflies may be able to synthesize their own toxins with the amino acids they absorb through the protein-rich pollen they feed on.

References

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/with/3143686808/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-13P

EOL eol.org/pages/151535/details

Tree of Life tolweb.org/Heliconius_sara/72943

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Heliconius sapho

4427846137_e59fe66b98_o

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: H. sapho and H. cydno are Müllerian mimics (two or more unrelated noxious, critters exhibit similar warning systems), which is exhibited in the mimetic wing pattern. NOTE: Batesian mimicry differs because one critter of two similar critters is not noxious. In this case the predators avoid all organisms with a given or similar warning, thus making the resemblance a protective mechanism for the non noxious organism.
Heliconius sapho is black and white but has a blue metallic sheen when seen under the right lighting conditions. It can be distinguished from its co-mimic H. cydno by the ventral surface of the hind wings, which exhibit basal red rays and no brown bars.

Wing span 3-3.5 inches

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Sapho longwings are found in central and northwestern South America to the west of the Andes in dense rainforests.

DIET IN THE WILD:  H. sapho  have a complex coevolved relationship with only one host plant, Passiflora pitteri.  Heliconius spp. caterpillars eat the plants that making their tissues poisonous. The butterflies are usually unpalatable to predators.

Wing bottom

3192752739_fbf5761406_b

REPRODUCTION: Also a pupal-mater (see Zebra Longwing)

LONGEVITY: Relatively long-lived

References

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/with/4427846137/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-13C

Tree of Life Project http://www.tolweb.org/Heliconius_sapho/72940

EOL http://eol.org/pages/153873/details

Missouri Botanical Garden http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/visit/family-of-attractions/butterfly-house/butterflies-and-plants/our-butterfly-collection/butterfly-collection-article/article/250/iheliconius-saphoi.aspx

TAXONOMY
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: Heliconius melpomene

3116912525_7c6d9815d6_o

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Postman has large long wings with an orange stripe down each forewing and is famous for the geographic diversity of its color pattern, having around 30 named subspecies. These factors, in combination with its co-mimicry with Heliconius erato, make an individual sometimes difficult to identify.

Postman (wing bottom)Heliconius melpomene

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: H. melpomene is widespread in the Neotropics of Central and South America to southern Brazil. They are found in open areas, also locally common along river edges and streams.

DIET IN THE WILD: A plant specialist on passion vine flowers (Passiflora spp.). In Central America, focuses on only two species; in other areas, is more of a generalist, feeding on several Passiflora species.

Postman butterfly 3128914991_1200b58be7_o

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

IMG_0766

REMARKS: The Postman is reportedly named after its habit of flying a route that allows visitation of all the nectar plants in a given area like a postman delivering the mail.
In Greek mythology, Mt. Helicon was sacred home to the Muses; Melpomene is the Muse of Tragedy.

References

California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  wp.me/p1DZ4b-12R

Tree of Life web project tolweb.org/Heliconia

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/154557/details

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Heliconius charithonia

 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The wings are long, narrow, patterned with black and yellow stripes. Wing span: 2 3/4 – 4 inches.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropics and subtropics of Central and South America. Also West Indies, Mexico, southern Texas, Florida, and occasionally as far west as New Mexico and north to the Carolinas.  H. charithonia are found in moist forests, edges, and fields.

 

DIET IN THE WILD: Adults feed on flower nectar and pollen. Larvae feed almost exclusively on the leaves of a few host species of passion flowers (genus Passiflora).

REPRODUCTION: Almost half of the Heliconian species, including the Zebra Longwing, practice a unique mating behavior known as pupal mating. The male seeks out larval host plants to find female pupae of its species, and may fend off other males from one or more pupae for up to a week before the female butterfly emerges. Mating takes place before the female is fully hardened. With the exception of one other species, Heliconians are the only butterflies known to practice this behavior.

PREDATORS:  Taken by birds and larger insects.

REMARKS: Declared the Florida State Butterfly in 1996. Species name refers to the Charities, or Graces, of Greek mythology, known as the epitome of charm and natural beauty. The Zebra Longwing, because of its striking pattern and long life, is a favorite species for butterfly exhibits. This species also practices communal roosting.

References

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/with/3259463506/

EOL http://eol.org/pages/147104/details

Bug guide http://bugguide.net/node/view/533

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-13m

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda (Jointed Legged Animals)
Class: Insecta (head, usually with two antennae. The thorax, has six legs and usually four wings. The abdomen, is used for breathing and reproduction.)
Order: Lepidoptera (most butterflies and moths)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)
Subfamily: Brassolidae (owl butterflies and relatives)

Genus/species: Eryphanis automedon

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: In males the dorsal sides of the wings show night blue iridescent patches, with well-defined borders separating the non-iridescent sections. (see eol.org/pages/149554/details) The bottom side or Ventral sides vary from faded brown to caramel color, with eyespots.

wing underside

4184513701_c7f7b4e5df_b 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: E. automedon is present from Venezuela to the Guiana’s and Brazil and from Colombia to Paraguay, Found in rainforest and humid deciduous forest,

emerging from the chrysalis

 

References 

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4184513701/in/album-72157608449327886/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1vw

EOL eol.org/pages/149554/details

ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Eryphanis_automedon/classifi…

breedingbutterflies.com  breedingbutterflies.com/eryphanis-sp-purple-mort-blue/

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Caligo memnon

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: There is a bluish-gray hue to the uppermost portion of the hindwing with a cream-colored patch on forewing. The wing underside surface is brown and tan with many lines and two large eye spots.

C. memnon is a very large butterfly with a wingspan up to 12.5 cm (5 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Mexico south to Amazonia in rainforests and secondary forests.

DIET IN THE WILD: Adults feed on rotting fruit, sipping liquids through their proboscis.

REPRODUCTION: The larvae of C. memnon go through five instar stages before the pupa (chrysalis) is formed. Adults emerge after 20 days of the pupal stage.

PREDATORS: Fly at dusk to avoid avian predators. Also eaten by small lizards.

REMARKS: Giant owls not always applauded by human cohabitants. Larvae are large and voracious, and one individual can consume an entire banana leaf more than 3 feet long!

Common name derived from the large “eye-spots” on the underside of wings, thought to be deterrents to bird predators.

References

California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014

Ron’s flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-12x

Insecta   insecta.pro/taxonomy/15030

www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/visit/family-of-attractio…

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute biogeodb.stri.si.edu/bocas_database/search/quick/open/?se…

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/137994/details

TAXONOMY
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.

References

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/with/3129818320/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-12q

Butterflies and Moths of North America www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Dryadula-phaetusa

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute biogeodb.stri.si.edu/bocas_database/search/species/1110

Tree of Life tolweb.org/Heliconiini/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Siproeta stelenes

Malachite (wing top)Siproeta stelenes

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Upperside dark black-brown with translucent yellow to lime–green patches. Underside orange-brown with greenish patches.

Wing Span: 8.3 – 10.1 cm (3.3 – 3.9 in)

Wing bottom or ventral surface

Malichite (wing bottom) on leaves_

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Common resident throughout Central and northern South America. In U.S., found in southern Texas and south Florida. Found in subtropical evergreen and semi-deciduous forests as well as fruit orchards in Florida.

DIET IN THE WILD: Caterpillars: host plants of the family Acanthaceae. Adults: rotting fruit; occasionally bird droppings and nectar.

REPRODUCTION: Eggs laid singly on host plant leaves. In warmest climates, up to four broods per year.

Malachite 3179150180_90dc2d417b_o_2

REMARKS: Named for the mineral malachite, reminiscent of the bright green of the wings. Adults roost together under the leaves of low shrubs. Green and black coloration provides excellent camouflage.

References

flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/

WordPress Shortlink  wp.me/p1DZ4b-146

butterflies and moths of North America  www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/siproeta-stelenes

Iowa State University Bug Guide  bugguide.net/node/view/2767

EOL eol.org/pages/4068082/details

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda (Jointed Legged Animals)
Class: Insecta  (head, usually with two antennae. The thorax, has six legs and usually four wings. The abdomen, is used for breathing and reproduction.)
Order: Lepidoptera (most butterflies and moths)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Caligo eurilochus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The color of the top (dorsal) wings is blue-gray.   Its ventral (bottom) wing surface is brown and tan with many lines and two large eye spots.

Wingspan up to 12.5 cm (5 inches). 

Wing bottom

Giant Owl Butterfly Caligo sp.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Mexico south to Amazonia in rainforests and secondary forests.

DIET IN THE WILD: Adults feed on rotting fruit, sipping liquids through their proboscis.

Wing Top

Giant Owl Butterfly IMG_0008

REPRODUCTION: The five larval instars each take a week to moult from one form to the other and the process therefore lasts about five weeks. The last instar moults to the chrysalis form which can be found hanging before the butterfly emerges at the end of five weeks

LIFESPAN: Up to seven weeks

PREDATORS: Fly at dusk to avoid avian predators.

Parasitized by tiny wasps known as Trichogrammatid which are parasitoids meaning that they kill their host

Giant Owl Butterfly 3175391673_2e6880dc85_b

REMARKS: Giant owls larvae are large and voracious, and one individual can consume an entire banana leaf more than 3 feet long!

The common name is derived from the large “eyespots” on the underside of wings, thought to be deterrents to bird predators.

Rainforest butterflies

References

California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute biogeodb.stri.si.edu/bocas_database/search/quick/open/?se…

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/137994/details

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-12x

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