Mexico, USA & Canada
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - HELICONIINI
© Adrian Hoskins
The tribe Heliconiini, colloquially known as Longwings, includes 71
species, all confined exclusively to the neotropics.
Heliconiini includes the genera Heliconius,
is placed in the genus Heliconius by
most authorities, but Lamas places it in
Heliconiines, doris occurs in several
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.
is a common and widespread species, found from Mexico to Bolivia.
© 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.
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.
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
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.