Heliconius hecubaMargarita Beltrán
Etymology: Hecuba was King Priam of Troy's wife and mother of 19 children by him, the most famous being Hector, Cassandra and Paris. When her youngest son Polydoris was killed by the king of Thrace, she put out his eyes and murdered his sons. The stories about her end vary: she committed suicide by jumping into the Hellespont, was killed or turned into a bitch. Hecuba is found in the Iliad and the Aeneid. She also appears in the plays Hecuba and The Trojan Women by Euripides and is mentioned in Shakespeare's Hamlet (Hecuba).
Early stages: Females usually place 10 to 30 eggs in growing shoots and tendrils of the host plant. Early instar larvae have a green and yellow body with black bands. Mature larvae have black scoli and head, length is approximately 1 cm. Caterpillars are gregarious (Brown, 1981).
Adult: Heliconius hecuba butterflies are black with a variety of yellow or white bands or spots on forewings and/or hindwings.
Heliconius hecuba 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. hecuba occurs from 1,000 to 2,400 m in cloud forest. Usually, individuals fly rapidly and in the canopy.
Hostplant: H. hecuba larvae feed primarily on plants from the subgenus Granadilla from Simplicifoliae, Lobatae, and Kermesinae sections (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.
"Hecuba." Encyclopedia of Myths. http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Go-Hi/Hecuba.html. [Accessed Jul 1, 2008].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. , ,  (2 January 1854), (10): [87-90], [97-98], pls. [44-45],  (3 April 1854).
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University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
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- First online 18 February 2007
- Content changed 01 July 2008
Citing this page:
Beltrán, Margarita. 2008. Heliconius hecuba http://tolweb.org/Heliconius_hecuba/72919/2008.07.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. Version 01 July 2008 (under construction).