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Long-wing Butterflies

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Chapter Summary

Long-wing Butterflies (Heliconiidae) is a neotropical family, sometimes treated as a subfamily of Nymphalidae. Heliconiids are brightly coloured butterflies with a distinctive wing-shape, the forewing being long and narrow with its apex extended much further beyond the outer margin of the hindwing than in other families of butterflies. The larvae of Heliconiidae feed on Passion Flower vines (Passifloraceae). Alkaloids from these plants are sequestered by the larvae so that they, and ensuing stages, are unpalatable to predators. Heliconiids are resilient butterflies with a capacity to tolerate some physical damage incurred when 'sampled' by a would-be predator. They are also exceptionally long-lived butterflies. This chapter discusses different types of long-wing butterflies (Heliconiidae) such as Gulf Fritillary, Julia, Flambeau and Zebra. For each type, it provides details on recognition, subspecies, species' range, Cayman Islands distribution, habitat, history and biology.

Keywords: Cayman Islands; Gulf Fritillary; Heliconiidae; Julia, Flambeau; long-wing butterflies; Zebra



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