Heliconius melpomene







Forewing Length

35-39 mm


Mexico to Brasil. Subspecies: Mexico to Panama.

Host Plant

Passiflora oerstedii, P. menispermifolia (Passifloraceae).

Pupa Stage

Approximately 8-10 days.

Pupa Description

Brown with gold spots on the dorsum; thorax strongly bowed; many short black spines on the antennae; five pairs of black spines on abdomen, the most anterior being longest; head horns short.

Adults Description

Distinguished from its comimic species, Heliconius erato, by the yellow line on the hindwing which, when viewed from the underside, the distal ends curve toward the posterior, not to the margin; at the base of the forewing underside there are three red dots; red patch on forewing is blurred where it is bordered by the black.

Habits Description

Occurs uncommonly from sea level to 1,000 m on both slopes in association with second-growth areas. Encountered as solitary individuals along forest edges and old second growth, flying with its comimic, H. erato, but tends to stay away from direct sunshine (whereas H. erato flies in direct sunlight). This species collects pollen mainly from Psiguria, but also visits flowers of Hamilia, Lantana, and Cissus.