Under Construction

Heliconius egeria (Cramer 1775)

Margarita Beltrán
Containing group: Heliconius


An Amazonian Heliconius species exhibiting the common red-and-yellow "dennis/ray" mimetic wing pattern.

Etymology: Egeria was a water nymph and a goddess. She took care of Hippolytus, son of Theseus (founder of Athens) after he was raised from the dead, until he changed his name and became Virbius.  She was most famously the second wife and counselor of the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius.


Early stages:  Eggs are cream and approximately 1.2 x 0.9 mm (h x w). Females usually place 1 to 3 eggs on growing shoots of the host plant. Mature larvae have a orange body, with black head and scoli, length is around 2 cm. Caterpillars are gregarious. (Brown, 1981).

Geographical Distribution

Heliconius egeria is distributed in the Eastern Amazon. This map shows an approximate representation of the geographic distribution of this species. The original data used to draw these maps are derived from Brown (1979) which is available at Keith S. Brown Jr. (1979). Ecological Geography and Evolution in Neotropical Forests

Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window

Distribution of Heliconius egeria and Heliconius astrea. © 2002 Margarita Beltran.


H. egeria occurs from sea level to 1,300 m in the forest canopy.  Usually individuals fly rapidly and in the canopy. Females mate multiply and adults roost solitarily at night 2-10 m above the ground on twigs or tendrils.

Host plant: H. egeria larvae feed primarily on plants from the genus Passiflora, subgenus Distephana (Brown, 1981).


Brown K. S. 1981 The Biology of Heliconius and Related Genera. Annual Review of Entomology 26, 427-456.

Cramer P. [1721_1776] 1975 De uitlandische Kapellen voorkomende in de drie Waereld-Deelen Asia, Africa en America. Papillons exotiques des trois parties du monde l'Asie, l'Afrique et l'Amérique. Amsteldam, S. J. Baalde; Utrecht, Barthelemy Wild and J. Van Schoonho-ven & Comp. 1(1/7): i-xxx, 1-16, 1-132, pls. 1-84.

About This Page

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Margarita Beltrán at

Page: Tree of Life Heliconius egeria (Cramer 1775). Authored by Margarita Beltrán. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Beltrán, Margarita. 2008. Heliconius egeria (Cramer 1775). Version 12 August 2008 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Heliconius_egeria/72248/2008.08.12 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

edit this page
close box

This page is a Tree of Life Leaf Page.

Each ToL leaf page provides a synopsis of the characteristics of a group of organisms representing a leaf at the tip of the Tree of Life. The major distinction between a leaf and a branch of the Tree of Life is that a leaf cannot generally be further subdivided into subgroups representing distinct genetic lineages.

For a more detailed explanation of the different ToL page types, have a look at the Structure of the Tree of Life page.

close box

Heliconius egeria

Page Content

articles & notes



Explore Other Groups

random page

  go to the Tree of Life home page