Heliconius leucadiaMargarita Beltrán and Andrew V. Z. Brower
An Amazonian species. The mimetic pair Heliconius leucadia and H. sara is one of the few examples of Müllerian mimicry between sister species in Heliconius. This species can be distinguished from the more widespread and geographically polymorphic H. sara by the fact that the large proximal yellow forewing spot never extends below the second cubital vein, and often appears to be truncated by it.
Heliconius leucadia at Rancho Grande, Rondonia, Brazil. © 2004 Richard Lindstrom
Early stages: Eggs are yellow and approximately 1 x 0.8 mm (h x w). Females gather together and usually each place 30 to 200 eggs on growing shoots of the host plant. Mature larvae have a yellow body with black bands, with black scoli and head; length is approximately 0.5 cm. Caterpillars are gregarious (Brown, 1981).
Heliconius leucadia is distributed in the Amazon Basin. This map 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. leucadia occurs in forest and usually individuals fly in the canopy and the middlestory. 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 small groups 2 to 10 m above ground in twigs or tendrils (Brown, 1981).
Host plant: H. leucadia larvae feed primarily on Passiflora auriculata in the subgenus Plectostemma (Passifloraceae) (Brown 1981).
Brown K. S. 1981 The Biology of Heliconius and Related Genera. Annual Review of Entomology 26, 427-456.
Bates, H. W. 1862. Contributions to an insect fauna of the Amazon Valley. Lepidoptera: Heliconidae. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 23(3): 495-566, pls. 55-56.
About This Page
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
Page copyright © 2010 and
Page: Tree of Life Heliconius leucadia Authored by . Margarita Beltrán and Andrew V. Z. Brower. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.
- First online 18 February 2007
- Content changed 12 August 2008
Citing this page:
Beltrán, Margarita and Andrew V. Z. Brower. 2008. Heliconius leucadia http://tolweb.org/Heliconius_leucadia/72944/2008.08.12 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. Version 12 August 2008 (under construction).