Heliconius melpomene


Basic Information

General information

Family: “Nymphalidae”
Sub Family: “Heliconiinae”
Estimated Lifespan 30 Days

Garden Specific Information

Estimated Number In Flight: 75
Total Number of Pupae Received: 22374
First Flown On: 10/21/02
Last Flown On: 07/12/24

Species Range:

  • “SouthAmerica”

Host plants:

  • Passiflora oerstedii
  • Passiflora menispermifolia

Food Source

Adults commonly nectar at various flowers. Lantana and Psiguria are some of their favorites. Adults also collect pollen on their proboscis, that is digested.


It can be seen flying in two's or three's around clearings, and along roads and tracks through primary forest, but seems to be more abundant in secondary forest.

Life history

After mating females will lay groups of eggs on the tender new shoots of the Passiflora vine. Caterpillars will eat and remain on the hostplant until pupation.


In their range there are multiple generations making it possible to find adults year round.

Fun Facts

There are many morphs of this butterfly throughout Central and South America. The geographical variation in patterns has been studied using linkage mapping and it has been found that the patterns are associated with a small number of genetic loci called genomic "hotspots".