- The longwing butterflies have unusually long lifespans and high fecundity rates, which largely result from their augmented diet . Instead of surviving on food stores from the larval stage or solely sipping flower nectar, adult longwing butterflies are avid pollen eaters. These trait make them eminently suitable for butterfly farming and butterfly gardening. Also, Adult Longwings may live for several months, much longer than most butterflies.
- The longwing butterflies are also known as Heliconians. They are brightly colored butterflies with long forewings . Once placed in their own family , they are now considered closely related to the fritillaries. Larvae of most longwings feed on passion vines , and this host plant imparts noxious chemicals to the larvae which are carried over to the adult butterflies. This relationship is identical to the monarch butterflies' reliance on its host plant, milkweed, for defense. Predators find these chemicals distasteful and avoid eating the butterflies.
Common Names in English:
Eleuchia Longwing Butterfly
'The Nymphalidae are members
of the Superfamily
Papilionoidea, the true butterflies. Distributed worldwide, butterflies of this family
are especially rich in the tropics. They are highly variable, and there are more species in this family than in any other. Adults
vary in size from small to large, and their front legs
are reduced, unable to be used for walking. Wing
is also highly variable: some species have irregular margins
(anglewings and commas), and others have long taillike projections (daggerwings). Browns, oranges, yellows, and blacks are frequent colors, while iridescent
colors such as purples and blues are rare. Adults of some groups are the longest-lived butterflies, surviving 6-11 months. Adult feeding behavior depends on the species, where some groups primarily seek flower nectar while others only feed
, rotting fruit, dung, or animal carcasses. Males exhibit
behaviors when seeking mates. Egg-laying
varies widely, as some species lay eggs
in clustsers, others in columns, and others singly. Caterpillar appearance
and behavior vary widely. Brushfoots overwinter
as larvae or adults.
Longwings are members of the Family Nymphalidae. They are richest in the tropics, but several genera are prominent in the Northern Hermisphere, including the fritillaries or silverspots and the lesser fritillaries. The adults of several species are distasteful, and many other species mimic the distasteful butterflies of this subfamily . Adults are long-lived, with some as long as six months. Males patrol in search of females. The adults of genus Heliconius are unique in that they intentionally collect pollen in their proboscis and then absorb its proteins.
Circadian communal roosting in butterflies occurs when a number of butterflies gather to rest for the night, typically on a single branch . These communal roosters can be quite numerous and can consist of single specie or a variety of species. Each evening, the air around the roosting site fills with butterflies as they fly back and forth and work to find an open spot on the roost. The whole process takes about an hour to complete because the new arrivals tend to agitate the butterflies that perched earlier. Unless the roosting site is disturbed , the same butterflies will visit that spot night after night. Strength in numbers is one of the benefits of communal roosting for Longwings. Predators dislike the taste of Longwing butterflies, so if a predator eats from the roost it will quickly learn not to do it again, saving the group.
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- A.M.A. Aguinaldo et al., 1997 ex T. Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Latreille, 1829
- Snodgrass, 1938
- Heymons, 1901
- Order: Lepidoptera () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - Butterflies and Moths
- Superorder: Panorpida ()
- Cohort: Myoglossata ()
- Infraclass: Pterygota ()
- Subclass: Dicondylia ()
- Epiclass: Hexapoda ()
- Superclass: Panhexapoda ()
- Infraphylum: Atelocerata () - Heymons, 1901
- Subphylum: Mandibulata () - Snodgrass, 1938
- Phylum: Arthropoda () - Latreille, 1829 - Arthropods
- Superphylum: Panarthropoda () - Cuvier
- Infrakingdom: Ecdysozoa () - A.M.A. Aguinaldo et al., 1997 ex T. Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Protostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Name Status: Accepted Name .
Members of the genus Heliconius
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 26 species and subspecies in this genus:
H. antiochus (Anitochus Longwing) · H. charithonia (Zebra) · H. charithonia charithonia (Zebra Butterfly) · H. charithonia tuckeri (Zebra Longwing) · H. clysonimus (Passionvine Butterfly) · H. clysonymus (Clysonymus Longwing) · H. cydno (Blue and White Longwing) · H. doris (Doris Longwing) · H. eleuchia (Eleuchia Longwing Butterfly) · H. erato (Crimson Patched) · H. hecale (Tiger Longwing) · H. hecale zuleika (Hecale Longwing) · H. hecale zuleika f. albipunctata (Hecale Longwing) · H. hermathena (Hermathona Heliconian) · H. hortense (Mountain Longwing) · H. ismenius (Ismenius Tiger) · H. melpomene (Postman) · H. melpomene rosina (Tragic Longwing) · H. melpomene xenoclea (Xenoclea Longwing) · H. nattereri (Natterer's Longwing) · H. numata (Numata Longwing) · H. procula (Acting Longwing) · H. sara (Sara Longwing Butterfly) · H. sara fulgidus (Sara's Longwing) · H. telesiphe (Telesiphe Longwing) · H. wallacei (Wallace's Longwing)
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- Genera insectorum / publiés par P. Wytsman. Bruxelles, L. Desmet-Verteneuil [etc.]1902-1970. url p. 38.
- Bisby, F.A., Y.R. Roskov, M.A. Ruggiero, T.M. Orrell, L.E. Paglinawan, P.W. Brewer, N. Bailly, J. van Hertum, eds (2007). Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2007 Annual Checklist. Species 2000: Reading, U.K.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed January 9, 2012.
- LepIndex: The Global Lepidoptera Names Index
- Marlin, Bruce. CirrusImage.com.
- Ruggiero M., Gordon D., Bailly N., Kirk P., Nicolson D. (2011). The Catalogue of Life Taxonomic Classification, Edition 2, Part A. In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2011 Annual Checklist (Bisby F.A., Roskov Y.R., Orrell T.M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L.E., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., Ouvrard D., eds). DVD; Species 2000: Reading, UK.
- The Global Lepidoptera Names Index2, 12.2, 2005.
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 5953203
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Lep-152951.0
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 165532