A stock center and rearing facility supporting scientific research on Heliconius butterflies
The Heliconius stock centre is a facility in Panama for Heliconius research, based in Gamboa at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
The Heliconius Stock Center and Rearing Facility exists to support scientific research, especially ecological and evolutionary genetics, through the captive breeding of Heliconius butterflies. We have two primary goals. First, we aim to provide the infrastructure (host plants and insectary space) for visiting scientists to efficiently conduct experiments using Heliconius butterflies. Second, we aim to maintain living stocks of a variety of Heliconius species and races to supply tissues and live individuals as needed for experiments.
El Centro de Heliconius de archivo y de las instalaciones de cría existe para apoyar la investigación científica, la genética, especialmente ecológicos y evolutivos, a través de la cría en cautividad de las mariposas Heliconius. Tenemos dos objetivos principales. En primer lugar, nuestro objetivo es proporcionar la infraestructura (plantas de acogida y el espacio insectario) para visitar los científicos para realizar experimentos de manera eficiente utilizando las mariposas Heliconius. En segundo lugar, nuestro objetivo es mantener un nivel de vida de una gran variedad de especies de Heliconius y razas para suministrar los tejidos y las personas viven, según sea necesario para los experimentos.
About the Heliconius Insectaries
The Heliconius stock center and rearing facility is hosted and supported by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). The insectaries are located in the STRI research annex in Gamboa, Panama. Gamboa is a small town situated on the edge of the Panama canal about a 30 minute drive fr
om Panama City. Surrounded by Soberania National Park, Gamboa is ideally situated for accessing pristine tropical jungle via the world-famous Pipeline Road. This allows researchers easy access to a diverse natural community of Heliconius and other tropical butterflies.
The insectaries consist of several screened enclosures — aluminum framed “houses” and smaller “tents” — which provide space for rearing a variety of Heliconius species and races along with their Passiflora host plants and other plants which provide the butterflies with pollen and nectar. Typically one or two full-time employees work to maintain the stocks and facilities along side a handful of academic researchers utilizing the insectaries for a few weeks or months at a time. If you are a researcher who anticipates conducting research here or otherwise making use of the insectaries’ resources, please read our requests to you.
The following photos show some of the facility and give an idea of what is available. Please get in touch if you are interested in working in Panama.
We thank ANAM and all those at STRI who have contributed to development of this facility.