Heliconius congenerMargarita Beltrán and Andrew V. Z. Brower
A member of the sapho clade occurring on the Amazonian slope of the Andes from Colombia to Northern Peru. H. congener is involved in Müllerian mimicry with H. sara, H. leucadia and H. wallacei.
Early stages: Eggs are yellow or white and approximately 1x 0.7 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 0.3 cm. Caterpillars are gregarious (Brown, 1981).
Adult: H. congener forms are black with yellow transverse forewing stripes, the bases of the dorsal wing surfaces being clothed in dark blue iridescent scales. Specimens of this species are most easily discriminated from similar-looking H. sara forms by the pattern of red spots/streaks on the ventral hindwing base. In H. sara there is a row of red spots along the anal margin of the hindwing, while in H. congener, the spots are confined to the wing base in a pattern reminiscent of that on H. sapho.
Heliconius congener is distributed in the North of the Andes. This map shows an approximate representation of the geographic distribution of this species. The original data used to draw these maps are derived from Brown (1979) which is available at Keith S. Brown Jr. (1979). Ecological Geography and Evolution in Neotropical Forests.
H. congener occurs from 600 to 2,000 m in montane 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. congener larvae feed primarily on plants from the genus Passiflora, subgenus Astrophea (Brown, 1981).
Brown, K. S., Jr. 1979 Ecologia Geográfica e Evolução nas Florestas Neotropicais. Campinas, São Paulo, Brasil: Universidade Estadual de Campinas.
Brown K. S. 1981 The Biology of Heliconius and Related Genera. Annual Review of Entomology 26, 427-456.
Lamas, G. (ed.) 2004 Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Checklist: Part 4A Hesperioidea - Papiionoidea. Gainesville: Scientific Publishers/Association of Tropical Lepidoptera.
Weymer G, Maassen P. J. 1890. Lepidopteren gesammelt auf einer Reise durch Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Brasilien, Argentinien und Bolivien in den Jahren 1868-1877 von Alphons Stübel. Berlin, A. Asher & Co.  , xi , 182 pp., 9 pls.
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University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA
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- First online 18 February 2007
- Content changed 13 August 2008
Citing this page:
Beltrán, Margarita and Andrew V. Z. Brower. 2008. Heliconius congener http://tolweb.org/Heliconius_congener/72939/2008.08.13 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. Version 13 August 2008 (under construction).