Heliconius demeterMargarita Beltrán
Etymology: Demeter is the Greek earth goddess, who brings forth the fruits of the earth, particularly the various grains. She taught mankind the art of sowing and ploughing so they could end their nomadic existence. As such, Demeter was also the goddess of planned society. She was very popular with the rural population. As a fertility goddess she is sometimes identified with Rhea and Gaia (Demeter).
Early stages: Eggs are yellow and approximately 1.3 x 0.7 mm (h x w). Females usually place 1 to 15 eggs on growing shoots of the host plant. Mature larvae have a yellow body with black spots or bands, and whit black scoli and head; length is around 2 cm. Caterpillars are gregarious (Brown, 1981).
Heliconius demeter is distributed in the Amazon Basin. 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. demeter occurs from sea level to 1,100 m in sand forest. 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 loose groups 2-10 m above ground and under leaves (Brown, 1981).
Host plant: H. demeter larvae feed primarily on plants from the genera Dilkea and Mitostemma (Brown, 1981).
Brown K. S. 1981 The Biology of Heliconius and Related Genera. Annual Review of Entomology 26, 427-456.
"Demeter." Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online. http://www.pantheon.org/articles/d/demeter.html [Accessed May 22, 2008].
Staudinger O. 1897. Neue Heliconius-Arten und Formen. Deutsche entomologische Zeitschrift "Iris" 9(2): 284-317, pls. 6-7.
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University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
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- First online 18 February 2007
- Content changed 12 August 2008
Citing this page:
Beltrán, Margarita. 2008. Heliconius demeter http://tolweb.org/Heliconius_demeter/72946/2008.08.12 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. Version 12 August 2008 (under construction).