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Erato Heliconian* - Dec. '05 - American Museum of Natural History


Erato Heliconian (Heliconius erato)


Common Names: Red Passion Flower Butterfly or Crimson-Patched Longwing


Wing span: 2 5/8 - 3 1/8 inches (6.7 - 8 cm).


Identification: Forewing black with pink-red band; hindwing black with yellow stripe.


Life history: Males patrol during the day for females, and also mate with females as they emerge from the chrysalis. After mating, males place a repellant chemical on the female's abdomen to keep other males from mating with her. Eggs are laid singly on young tendrils and shoots, which the caterpillars eat.


Flight: June and August-September in South Texas, all year in the tropics.


Caterpillar hosts: Various passion-vines (Passiflora species).


Adult food: Flower nectar and pollen.


Habitat: Tropical and subtropical forests and edges.


Range: Brazil north through Central America to Mexico; a rare stray to South Texas.


* I'm pretty sure this is the right species.




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Taken on December 16, 2004