[Leps-l] Heliconius expert?

Arnaud Martin heliconiuswing at gmail.com
Sun Jun 2 14:15:02 EDT 2013

Hi Chris,

Check out the Butterflies of America website, you can trust their name
assignment for pictures of Heliconius specimens and it is an excellent

Basal hindwing red spots on the ventral side are a variable character so I
would not use it for identification. Pupae are easy to ID: erato has long
antennae while melpomene and cydno have short antennae at the pupal stage
(antennal "cases", if you wish). Adult melpomene and erato butterflies are
co-mimics wherever they occur, and each display about 20 geographic morphs
cross the Neotropics, so you have to learn differences "pattern by pattern".

IDing colombian Venus-like melpomene vs erato should be quite easy. The red
forewing bar of Heliconius erato makes a sharp boundary with black, the
contours are clean, especially on the dorsal side. While melpomene has a
fuzzy, leaky red bar.

Cydno and melpomene are sister species that can co-hybridize so it is very
frequent to have melpomene looking butterflies in melpomene stocks that
originate from butterfly farms.

I hope it helps!

Arnaud Martin

Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 1 Jun 2013 10:39:45 -0700 (PDT)
> From: chris kline <kline_at_pine at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [Leps-l] Heliconius expert?
> To: Butterfly_and_Moth listserve <LEPS-L at LISTS.YALE.EDU>,
>         leps-l at mailman.yale.edu
> Message-ID:
>         <1370108385.22721.YahooMailClassic at web160505.mail.bf1.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> I am looking for someone who knows Heliconius, specifically H. erato, H.
> melpomene, and H. cydno. ?
> For example, I have learned that one way to tell erato from melpomene is
> by the number of red dots at the base of the ventral side of the hindwing.
> ?Today I got photos of a bug that looks like H. erato venus to me but it
> has too few dots at the base of the wing. ?Plus, the other day I had what
> looked like an erato/melpomene crawl out of a cydno chrysalis, or at least
> that is how the chrysalis was labeled. ?Hoping someone can help me make
> sense of these bugs! ?Or perhaps you know of a good reference that I can
> consult. ?Having been looking on the Tree of Life website, but it has some
> limitations.
> BTW, I am the bfly specialist at Franklin Park Conservatory. ?That may
> help some who are scratching their heads wondering why I am watching
> Heliconius in Ohio! :)
> chris
> ?
> Chris Kline
> Sugar Grove, OhioTo learn more about my Tony Spencer Mystery Series and my
> Butterfly books visit: http://beeryridge.yolasite.com??
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