Here are a few photos from the Heliconius meeting this summer – thanks to Denise for these.
A large family of Heliconius doris were emerging this morning at the insectaries. These are part of Liz Evans work on the genetics of their wing pattern polymorphism. This species is highly gregarious and make an impressive sight when 40+ butterflies are emerging together. I have never seen this in the wild.
This morning I took this photo of a Heliconius erato petiverana feeding on hotlips in the morning sun, near the insectaries in Gamboa. The colours really shine very bright in the morning light.
This is a photo taken by Patricio Salazar of a Heliconius (Laparus?) doris laying eggs on a P. ambigua in the garden of our house in Gamboa, Panama. The ambigua vine has been growing there for many years, but I have never seen eggs laid on it before. H. doris is an interesting species – it is highly polymorphic for wing pattern. Its taxonomy is also controversial, with molecular data clearly placing it within Heliconius, but morphological data suggesting it is a distinct genus (Laparus). Clearly more molecular data will be necessary to resolve this issue. The current data is dominated by information from mitochondrial sequence – it is possible that more nuclear sequence data will give a different answer.
Heliconius doris eggs and larvae decimating a Passiflora in the Kaw Mountains of French Guiana.
Heliconius melpomene aglaope processing a pollen load. Adults may spend several hours processing pollen, producing saliva which is mixed with the pollen to release amino acids and then ingested. The large grains of white pollen in the photo are from Psiguria warcewiczii.
Heliconius erato petiverana roosting gregariously in the insectary in Gamboa
Heliconius erato petiverana roosting gregariously.