Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
The Doris
Heliconius doris  LINNAEUS, 1771
subfamily - HELICONIINAE

Heliconius doris Adrian Hoskins
The tribe Heliconiini, colloquially known as Longwings, includes 71 species, all confined exclusively to the neotropics. The Heliconiini includes the genera Heliconius, Podotricha, Dryas, Agraulis, Dione, Dryadula, Eueides, Neruda, Laparus and Philaethria.
This species is placed in the genus Heliconius by most authorities, but Lamas places it in Laparus.
Like most Heliconiines, doris occurs in several colour forms. In all forms the ground colour is black, and the pattern of cream on the forewings is constant. The patch of colour radiating from the base of the hindwings however may be either blue, red, orange or dark cream. In one form metharmina from Brazil, the hindwings are almost entirely black.
Heliconius doris is a common and widespread species, found from Mexico to Bolivia.

Heliconius doris Adrian Hoskins
The butterfly occurs commonly at elevations between 0-1200m. It is usually seen singly or in two's and three's, fluttering around flowering bushes in sunlit areas at the forest edge.
The eggs are yellow, and laid in clusters of up to 200. When fully grown the caterpillar is greenish-yellow with transverse black bands across the back, and branched black spines along the back and sides. The larvae feed gregariously on Passiflora. The pupa is reddish-brown and devoid of spines. Pupation sometimes takes place gregariously on tree trunks.
Adult behaviour

Like other Heliconiines, doris has a very graceful and persistent flight, beating it's wings very slowly as it flutters in search of flowers or larval foodplants.

Males often settle close to streams in dappled sunlight, to imbibe mineralised moisture from rocks, mud or sand. Both sexes fly in open sunlight and visit Lantana flowers for nectar. Females also visit Psiguria and Psychotia flowers for pollen. They process the pollen to extract proteins which enable them to continue producing eggs over a long period. The proteins also increase longevity - adults can live for up to 9 months, much longer than other rainforest species.



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