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Heliconius heurippa Hewitson 1854

Andrew V. Z. Brower and Margarita Beltrán
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Containing group: Heliconius


Heliconius heurippa, apparently a cognate of H. cydno (Brower 1994, 1996; Beltrán et al. 2007), is distributed on the eastern slopes of the Andes in Dpto. Meta, Colombia, where it is parapatric with H. melpomene melpomene on an elevational gradient (Benson et al. 1976). It has been hypothesized to be of hybrid origin between that species and H. cydno cordula (Salazar et al. 2005; Mavarez et al. 2006).

H. heurippa does not bear a close mimetic resemblance to any other Heliconius species.

Etymology: Heurippa is the finder of horses (Heurippe).


Early stages:  Eggs are yellow and approximately 1.6 x 1 mm (h x w). Females usually place eggs singly on growing shoots of the host plant. Mature larvae have a white body with black spots, black scoli and the head is orange, length is around 1.9 cm. Caterpillars are gregarious in small numbers. (Brown, 1981).

Geographical Distribution

Heliconius heurippa is distributed in the East of Colombia. 

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Distribution of Heliconius cydno subspecies and related species, including H. heurippa.  Thanks to Jim Mallet, Mauricio Linares and Larry Gilbert for some of the butterfly images that went into this map. © Chris Jiggins.


H. heurippa occurs from 400 to 2,400 m in montane forest.  Usually individuals fly rapidly and in the lower story. Females mate multiply and adults roost solitarily at night at 2-10 m above ground on twigs or tendrils.

Hostplant: H. heurippa is polyphagous and larvae feed primarily on plants from the subgenus Granadilla from Quadrangulares, Digitales, Laurifoliae sections (Passifloraceae) (Brown, 1981).


Beltrán, M., Jiggins, C. D., Brower, A. V. Z., Bermingham, E. & Mallet, J. 2007 Do pollen feeding, pupal-mating and larval gregariousness have a single origin in Heliconius butterflies? Inferences from multilocus DNA sequence data. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 92, 221-239.

Benson, W. W., Brown, K. S., Jr. & Gilbert, L. E. 1976. Coevolution of plants and herbivores: passion flower butterflies. Evolution 29, 659-680.

Brower, A. V. Z. 1994 Phylogeny of Heliconius butterflies inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 3, 159-174.

Brower, A. V. Z. 1996 A new mimetic species of Heliconius (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), from southeastern Colombia, as revealed by cladistic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences. Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 116, 317-332.

Brown K. S. 1981 The Biology of Heliconius and Related Genera. Annual Review of Entomology 26, 427-456.

Gilbert LE. 2003. Adaptive novelty through introgression in Heliconius wing patterns: evidence for a shared genetic "tool box" from synthetic hybrid zones and a theory of diversification. In: Boggs CL, Watt WB and Ehrlich PR, eds. Butterflies: Ecology and evolution taking flight. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 281-318.

"Heurippe." Artemis titles. http://www.theoi.com/Cult/ArtemisTitles.html [Accessed May 22, 2008].

Hewitson W C. 1854. Illustrations of new species of exotic butterflies, selected chiefly from the collections of W. Wilson Saunders and William C. Hewitson. London, John Van Voorst.(9): [13-14], [25-26], [83-84], pls. [7], [13], [42] (2 January 1854), (10): [87-90], [97-98], pls. [44-45], [49] (3 April 1854)

Mavarez J, Salazar CA, Bermingham E, Salcedo C, Jiggins CD, and Linares M. 2006. Speciation by hybridization in Heliconius butterflies. Nature 441: 868-871 , 11 supplementary pages.

Salazar CA, Jiggins CD, Arias CF, Tobler A, Bermingham E, and Linares M. 2005. Hybrid incompatibility is consistent with a hybrid origin of Heliconius heurippa Hewitson from its close relatives, Heliconius cydno Doubleday and Heliconius melpomene Linnaeus. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18: 247-256.

Mavárez, J., Salazar, C., Bermingham, E., Salcedo, C., Jiggins, CD., Linares, M. 2006. Speciation by hybridization in Heliconius butterflies Nature. 441: 868-871.

Information on the Internet

Title Illustrations
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Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Scientific Name Heliconius heurippa
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source University of Cambridge Butterfly genetics group
Copyright © Juan Gillermo Montańés and Mauricio Linares
About This Page

Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Andrew V. Z. Brower at and Margarita Beltrán at

Page: Tree of Life Heliconius heurippa Hewitson 1854. Authored by Andrew V. Z. Brower and Margarita Beltrán. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Brower, Andrew V. Z. and Margarita Beltrán. 2008. Heliconius heurippa Hewitson 1854. Version 04 September 2008 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Heliconius_heurippa/72255/2008.09.04 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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