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Heliconius eleuchia Hewitson 1854

Margarita Beltrán and Chris Jiggins
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Containing group: Heliconius


Early stages: Eggs are yellow or white and approximately 1 x 0.8 mm (h x w). Females usually place 20 to 50 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).

Geographical Distribution

Heliconius eleuchia is distributed from Costa Rica to Ecuador. 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

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Distribution of Heliconius congener and Heliconius eleuchia. © 2002 Margarita Beltran.


H. eleuchia occurs from sea level to 2,000 m in riparian forest.  Usually individuals fly rapidly and in the lowerstory. 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. eleuchia larvae feed primarily on plants from the genus Passiflora, subgenus Astrophea (Brown, 1981).  In western Ecuador this species feeds mainly on Passiflora macrophyllum.


Brown K. S. 1981 The Biology of Heliconius and Related Genera. Annual Review of Entomology 26, 427-456.

Hewitson W. C. 1854 Illustrations of new species of exotic butterflies, selected chiefly from the collections of W. Wilson Saunders and William C. Hewitson. London, John Van Voorst. 1(11): [15-16], [27-28], pls. [8], [14] (21 July 1854)

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Heliconius eleuchia
Location Captive live butterfly photographed at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License - Version 2.5.
Copyright © Bruce Marlin
About This Page

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Chris Jiggins
University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Margarita Beltrán at and Chris Jiggins at

Page: Tree of Life Heliconius eleuchia Hewitson 1854. Authored by Margarita Beltrán and Chris Jiggins. 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.

Citing this page:

Beltrán, Margarita and Chris Jiggins. 2008. Heliconius eleuchia Hewitson 1854. Version 13 August 2008 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Heliconius_eleuchia/72938/2008.08.13 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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