Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - HELICONIINI
Eueides lybia, newly emerged from chrysalis, Rio Madre de
© Adrian Hoskins
The tribe Heliconiini, colloquially known as Longwings, includes 71
species, all confined exclusively to the neotropics. The butterflies
are characterised by possessing distinctively patterned elongated
forewings and a delicate fluttering flight.
Heliconiini includes the genus Heliconius
( 39 species ), together with the smaller genera
Dione and Podotricha.
The 12 Eueides
species are similar to other Heliconiines but smaller in size. Some
such as isabella are mimics of
tiger-complex Ithomiines, while others including
lineata are very similar to Dryas
and Dione in appearance. A few such as
vibilia closely resemble
Eueides heliconioides falls into yet another group which
strongly resemble Laparus doris. To
further confuse matters the butterfly was known by the name
Heliconius eanes until the 1970's!
A major characteristic which helps to distinguish
Eueides from similar taxa is the shape
and length of the antennae - in Eueides
these are never more than half the length of the costa; in
Actinote they are about the same length
but are very strongly clubbed. In the tiger-complex Ithomiines they
are long, tapered, cream in colour and dropping. In
Laparus they are about two-thirds the length of the costa,
Eueides lybia is found from Nicaragua to Bolivia.
This canopy dwelling species occurs at altitudes between 0-1400m on
both sides of the Andes.
The eggs are
laid singly on Passiflora vines. The
caterpillars feed solitarily and are black except for white patches
on the thorax and anal segment. They have long, bristled spines
along the back and sides. There is a broad yellowish stripe along
the sides. The head is black and shiny with a pair of long recurved
horns. The pupa is white, marked with brown streaks on the wing
cases and blackish dots on the abdomen and thorax. It is suspended
by the cremaster from a leaf.
spend most of their time high in the canopy and are rarely seen on the
ground, but will sometimes visit Lantana
or Psiguria flowers for nectar.
sometimes be seen flying along forest edges in dappled sunlight in
search of oviposition sites. The emerging adult illustrated above was
found at a height of about 2m in the vicinity of a small stream in
primary forest. The butterflies roost gregariously, as do many other