Heliconius antiochusMargarita Beltrán and Andrew V. Z. Brower
IntroductionHeliconius antiochus is a member of the sara-sapho group, and a Müllerian mimic of Heliconius wallacei, H. sara and H. congener. The wings are blue-black, with two transverse white or yellow bands on the distal part of the forewings.
CharacteristicsH. antiochus adults may be distinguished from mimics by the pattern of red basal spots and streaks on the ventral surface of the hindwing.
Early stages: Eggs are yellow and approximately 1.1 x 0.8 mm (h x w). Females usually place 5 to 40 eggs on growing shoots of the host plant. Mature larvae have a yellow body with black scoli and head; length is around 1.2 cm. Caterpillars are gregarious (Brown, 1981)
Heliconius antiochus is disributed from Panama to the Amazon. The map below shows an approximate representation of the geographic distribution of this species. The original data used to draw these maps is derived from Brown (1979) which is available at Keith S. Brown Jr. (1979). Ecological Geography and Evolution in Neotropical Forests .
H. antiochus occurs from sea level to 1,000 m in riparian forest. Usually individuals fly slowly and in the canopy. The males sit on female pupae a day before emergence, and mating occurs the next morning, before the female has completely eclosed. Adults roost at night in large groups on twigs or tendrils over water (Brown, 1981).
Host plant: H. antiochus larvae feed primarily on plants from the genus Passiflora, subgenus Astrophea (Brown, 1981).
Geographical RacesH. antiochus has formed several geographical races, as follows:
Heliconius antiochus antiochus (Linnaeus, 1767) widespread east of the Andes from Venezuela to Peru
Heliconius antiochus aranea (Fabricius, 1793) eastern side of the Cordillera de Mérida, Venezuela
Heliconius antiochus araneides Staudinger, 1897 Venezuela
Heliconius antiochus salvinii Dewitz, 1877 eastern Venezuela (an interesting form with a broad transverse yellow band on the hindwing, reminiscent of the pattern of the allopatric H. cydno weymeri).
Lamas (2004) lists a further undescribed subspecies from eastern Peru.
Brown K. S. 1981 The Biology of Heliconius and related genera. Annual Review of Entomology 26, 427-456.
Lamas, G. 2004. Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Checklist: Part 4A Hesperioidea - Papiionoidea in J. B. Heppner, ed. Scientific Publishers/Association of Tropical Lepidoptera, Gainesville.
Linnaeus C. 1767. Systema naturae. Editio duodecima reformata. Holmiae, Laurentius Salvius. 1(2): [ii] , 533-1328 ,  pp.
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University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA
Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Margarita Beltrán at and Andrew V. Z. Brower at
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- First online 18 February 2007
- Content changed 21 July 2010
Citing this page:
Beltrán, Margarita and Andrew V. Z. Brower. 2010. Heliconius antiochus http://tolweb.org/Heliconius_antiochus/72945/2010.07.21 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. Version 21 July 2010 (under construction).