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Heliconius himera Hewitson 1867

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Containing group: Heliconius


This species is a close relative of Heliconius erato that is found in the dry forests of south west Ecuador and north west Peru, and into the Maranon valley on the eastern slopes of the Andes.  It is quite abundant and very distinctive, being non-mimetic and therefore unlike other sympatric species.  It has been extensively studied as a model for understanding speciation.  It hybridises with Heliconius erato cyrbia in a narrow zone in south west Ecuador where hybrids form about 10% of overlapping populations.


Descimon H, Mast De Maeght J. 1984. Semispecies relationships between Heliconius erato cyrbia Godt. and H. himera Hew. in southwestern Ecuador. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 22: 229-39

Jiggins CD, King P, McMillan WO, Mallet J. 1997. The maintenance of species differences across a Heliconius hybrid zone. Heredity 79: 495-505

Jiggins CD, McMillan WO. 1997. The genetic basis of an adaptive radiation; mimicry in two Heliconius sibling species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B 264: 1167-75

Jiggins CD, McMillan WO, Mallet J. 1997. Host plant adaptation has not played a role in the recent speciation of Heliconius erato and Heliconius himera (Lepidoptera; Nymphalidae). Ecological Entomology 22: 361-5

Jiggins CD, McMillan WO, Neukirchen W, Mallet J. 1996. What can hybrid zones tell us about speciation? The case of Heliconius erato and H. himera (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 59: 221-42

McMillan WO, Jiggins CD, Mallet J. 1997. What initiates speciation in passion vine butterflies? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 94: 8628-33

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Heliconius himera
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Copyright © Chris Jiggins
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Citing this page:

Tree of Life Web Project. 2007. Heliconius himera Hewitson 1867. Version 22 February 2007 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Heliconius_himera/72241/2007.02.22 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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Heliconius himera

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