Heliconius hecale







Forewing Length

42-50 mm


Mexico to Peruvian Amazon. Subspecies: Nicaragua to Panama.

Host Plant

Passiflora oerstedii (Passifloraceae).

Pupa Stage

Approximately 8-10 days.

Pupa Description

Similar to H. melpomene but with three gold spots on the abdomen.

Adults Description

Distinguished from similar species by the wide, rounded forewing apex; hindwing apex is not widely black. This species is highly variable, with some populations in Guanacaste showing yellow and black hindwing bands, and variation in number and color of forewing spots, some being almost black.

Habits Description

Widely distributed from sea level to 1,700 m on Atlantic and Pacific slopes of Costa Rica, this species is found in literally all habitats from primary rain forest to open pastures. Just as Heliconius cydno is highly successful at utilizing numerous species of Passiflora as larval host- plants, Heliconius hecale also has a broad range. Both sexes visit various types of flowers, but are commonest at Psiguria and Gurania flowers, where individuals aggressively defend a flower against other butterflies.