Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Erato Heliconian
Heliconius erato (Linnaeus, 1758)

Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Heliconiinae
Identification: Forewing black with pink-red band; hindwing black with yellow stripe.
Wing Span: 2 5/8 - 3 1/8 inches (6.7 - 8 cm).
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.
Conservation: Not required for rare stray.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
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