Philaethria type species = Papilio dido L., 1763Andrew V. Z. Brower and Margarita Beltrán
- Philaethria andrei
- Philaethria browni
- Philaethria constantinoi
- Philaethria diatonica
- Philaethria dido
- Philaethria neildi
- Philaethria ostara
- Philaethria pygmalion
- Philaethria romeroi
- Philaethria wernickei
Species in this genus are recognized by the translucent green and brown pattern on the upperside and the typical heliconiine elongate forewing. The genus ranges from Mexico throughout Central and South America (DeVries, 1987).
Philaethria larvae feed on several subgroups of the genus Passiflora, but unlike Heliconius, the larvae use the older leaves in all instars. The spiny larvae appear very much like Heliconius caterpillars, but the pupae lack spines and resemble a bird dropping. The adults are almost entirely restricted to the forest canopy, and do not feed on pollen. On the other hand, adults are occasionally seen visiting fresh mammal dung, a trait not seen in other heliconiines (DeVries, 1987). Flight is very rapid, and the butterflies are notoriously difficult to catch. Some have suggested that Philaethria species are mimicked by Siproeta stelenes (Nymphalinae), which are superficially quite similar, but lack the elongated forewings and exhibit more crenulated (almost "tailed") outer margins of the hindwings.
Siproeta stelenes. © 2005 Barbara
In addition to the superficial characteristics of wing pattern discussed on the species pages, most Philaethria species are distinguished by differing haploid chromosome complements (Constantino & Salazar, 2010):
Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships
Long considered a single species (P. dido), Philaethria has in recent times been split into ten taxa based on differences in chromosome numbers, genitalic differences, and subtle variations in wing pattern. Although some potential affinities are implied by shared chromosome complements, it is premature to hypothesize relationships among the species of Philaethria. The species are listed in alphabetical order.
DeVries P. J. 1987 The Butterflies of Costa Rica and Their Natural History, Volume I: Papilionidae, Pieridae, Nymphalidae Princeton University Press, Baskerville, USA.
Lamas G ed. 2004. Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Checklist: Part 4A Hesperioidea - Papiionoidea. Gainesville: Scientific Publishers/Association of Tropical Lepidoptera.
Salazar Escobar JA. 1991. Descripción de una nueva especie de Philaethria Billberg, 1820 para el occidente de Colombia (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae). SHILAP Revta. Lepid. 19: 273-279.
Constantino, L. M. and J. A. Salazar. 2010. A review of the Philaethria dido species complex (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae) and description of three new sibling speceis from Colombia and Venezuela. Zootaxa 2720: 1-27.
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
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- First online 25 March 2007
- Content changed 09 December 2011
Citing this page:
Brower, Andrew V. Z. and Margarita Beltrán. 2011. Philaethria type species = Papilio dido L., 1763. Version 09 December 2011 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Philaethria/70437/2011.12.09 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/