Pic of the Week: Helicon Butterfly Of Belize

The picture below of a tropical Heliconian (also known as a Helicon), a family of butterflies that range

Helicon

A Helicon butterfly at 5 Blues National Park in Belize; Photo by 5BlueMedia

from northern Mexico, Florida, and southern Texas to central Peru. Helicons feature a shared curved wing shape and size, resulting in their common name of “longwings”. Also known as passionflower butterflies, they feature bright colors such as blues, reds, or as seen above in the Belizean “Isabella Tiger” species, oranges, that warn predators of their toxicity if eaten.

Other popular members of the Heliconian family are Zebra Longwings (striped black and yellow and can be found as north as Florida), Postmans (black with thick red stripes on each wing tip and a single white bar along the midwing), and Sara Helicons (blue and black with two pairs of white stripes on either wing). While not all Helicons share this trait, some male members of the family, specifically the Zebra and Sara subspecies, will mate with the female butterfly while she is still metamorphosing in her chrysalis.

This photo was taken at 5 Blues National Park , located south of Belmopan Belize by the staff of Ricochet Science, and our media partners, 5Blue Media.

research by Devin Windelspecht; photo copyright Ricochet Creative Productions, LLC

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