I am often asked for general reviews and reference material on Heliconius. Here are some useful starters:


Non-specialist articles

  • Crane J. (1957): Keeping house for tropical butterflies. National Geographic Magazine 112(2):193-217.
  • D'Abrera, B (1984): Butterflies of the Neotropical region. Vol. Part II. Danaidae, Ithomiidae, Heliconidae & Morphidae. Hill House, Ferny Creek, Victoria, Australia.
  • De Vries, P (1986): The Butterflies of Costa Rica. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ.
  • Hiam, AW (1982): Airborne models and flying mimics. Natural History 91 (No. 4, April), 42-49.
  • Jones, FM (1930): The sleeping heliconias of Florida. Natural. History 30, 635-644.
  • Mallet, J (1997): Mimicry in postman and rayed Heliconius from Peru.
  • Mallet, J and Joron, M  (2000): Mimicry between polymorphic Heliconius numata and Melinaea (Ithomiinae).
  • Milius, S (2001): Alarming butterflies and go-better fish: overlooked ways to invent new species.  Science News, July 21, 2001.
  • Murawski, DA (1993): A taste for poison. National Geographic 184 (No. 6, December), 122-137.
  • Smart, P (1976): The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Butterfly World. Hamlyn, London.
  • Turner, JRG (1973): Passion flower butterflies. Animals 15, 15-21.
  • Turner, JRG (1975): A tale of two butterflies. Natural History 84 (No. 2, February), 24-37. Nice map!
  • Wilson, P (2000): Heliconius feeding on a Psiguria vine in Eastern Ecuador

Checklists and species databases of Heliconiini

Blog and mailing list

Other web pages with information on Heliconius

General scientific publications about Heliconius

  • Beebe, William (1955): the first experimental crosses with Heliconius erato and H. melpomene: Beebe, W. 1955. Polymorphism in reared broods of Heliconius butterflies from Surinam and Trinidad. Zoologica, N.Y. 40: 139-143, plates I-VI
  • Brown, KS (1981): The biology of Heliconius and related genera. Ann. Rev. Entomol. 26, 427-456.
  • Brower, AVZ (1996): Parallel race formation and the evolution of mimicry in Heliconius butterflies: a phylogenetic hypothesis from mitochondrial DNA sequences. Evolution 50, 195-221.
  • Brower, AVZ; Egan, MG (1997): Cladistics of Heliconius butterflies and relatives (Nymphalidae: Heliconiiti): the phylogenetic position of Eueides based on sequences from mtDNA and a nuclear gene. Proc. Royal Soc. Lond. B 264: 969-977.
  • Bull, VJ (2003):  Genealogy and speciation in Heliconius butterflies. PhD thesis, University of London.
  • Crane J. (1954): Spectral reflectance characteristics of butterflies (Lepidoptera) from Trinidad, B.W.I. Zoologica, New York 39:85-115.
  • Crane J. (1955): Imaginal behaviour of a Trinidad butterfly, Heliconius erato hydara Hewitson, with special reference to the social use of color. Zoologica, New York 40:167-196.
  • Crane J. (1957): Imaginal behavior in butterflies of the family Heliconiidae: changing social patterns and irrelevant actions. Zoologica, New York 42:135-145.
  • Crane J. (1957): Keeping house for tropical butterflies. National Geographic Magazine 112(2):193-217.
  • Gilbert, LE (1975): Ecological consequences of a coevolved mutualism between butterflies and plants. In: Coevolution of Animals and Plants. (Eds: Gilbert, LE; Raven, PR) University of Texas Press, Austin, TX, 210-240.
  • Gilbert, LE (1983): Coevolution and mimicry. Chap. 12. In: Coevolution. (Eds: Futuyma,DJ; Slatkin,M) Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Mass., 263-281.
  • Gilbert, LE (1991): Biodiversity of a Central American Heliconius community: pattern, process, and problems. Chap. 18. In: Plant-Animal Interactions: Evolutionary Ecology in Tropical and Temperate Regions. (Eds: Price,PW; Lewinsohn,TM; Fernandes,TW; Benson,WW) John Wiley, New York, 403-427.
  • Mallet, J (1986): Gregarious roosting and home range in Heliconius butterflies. Natl. Geogr. Res. 2, 198-215.
  • Mallet, J; Gilbert, LE (1995): Why are there so many mimicry rings? Correlations between habitat, behaviour and mimicry in Heliconius butterflies. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 55, 159-180.
  • Mallet, J.L.B., & Turner, J.R.G. (1998):  Biotic drift or the shifting balance: did forest islands drive the diversity of warningly coloured butterflies?  In Grant, P.R. (ed.) Evolution on Islands.  Oxford University Press. pp. 262-280.
  • Naisbit, RE (2001): Ecological divergence and speciation in Heliconius cydno and H. melpomene. PhD thesis, University of London
  • Papageorgis, C (1975): Mimicry in neotropical butterflies. American Scientist 63, 522-532
  • Sheppard PM, Turner JRG, Brown KS, Benson WW, Singer MC. (1985): Genetics and the evolution of muellerian mimicry in Heliconius butterflies. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences 308:433-613.
  • Turner JRG. (1972): The genetics of some polymorphic forms of the butterflies Heliconius melpomene (Linnaeus) and Heliconius erato (Linnaeus). II. The hybridization of subspecies of H. melpomene from Surinam and Trinidad. Zoologica, New York 56: 125-157
  • Turner, JRG (1981): Adaptation and evolution in Heliconius: a defense of neo-Darwinism. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 12, 99-121
  • Turner, JRG (1984): Mimicry: the palatability spectrum and its consequences. Chap. 14. In: The Biology of Butterflies. (Eds: Vane- Wright, RI; Ackery, PR) (Symposia of the Royal Entomological Society of London, 11.) Academic Press, London, 141-161.
  • Turner JRG, Crane J. (1962): The genetics of some polymorphic forms of the butterflies Heliconius melpomene Linnaeus and Heliconius erato Linnaeus. I. Major genes. Zoologica, New York 47: 141-152
  • Turner, JRG; Mallet, JLB (1996): Did forest islands drive the diversity of warningly coloured butterflies? Biotic drift and the shifting balance. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. (B) 351, 835-845.

Plants associated with Heliconius: Passifloraceae and Cucurbitaceae

  • Killip, EP. (1938): The American Species of Passifloraceae. Publications of the Field Museum of Natural History, Botanical Series 19:1-163
  • Killip, EP. (1941): Passifloraceae. In: Flora of Suriname (Pulle, A., ed.), 306-327.
  • Killip, EP. (1941): Passifloraceae. Passionflower family. In: Flora of Peru (ed. MacBride, JF). Field Museum of Natural History, Botanical Series 13, Part IV, No. 1:91-132.

Lepidoptera other than Heliconius

Mimicry, warning colour, aposematism