Heliconius sapho







Forewing Length

38-42 mm


Mexico to Colombia and Ecuador. Subspecies: Mexico to Costa Rica.

Host Plant

Passiflora pittieri (Passifloraceae).

Pupa Stage

Approximately 8-10 days.

Pupa Description

Pale yellow to pale brown, with well-marked black wing veins and black spines. Pupation often takes place in groups.

Adults Description

Distinguished from its comimic cydno by the forewing white patch, which has a narrow, underside has red at the base of both wings and no reddish discal bands.

Habits Description

Restricted to the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica, from sea level to 500 m, in association with primary rain forest habitats. This rare species flies only in the shaded understory and subcanopy, and is intolerant of disturbed forest. Very seldom seen at Psiguria or other flowers, although both sexes collect large pollen loads. In the field, live specimens have a sweet, ambrosial smell that is emitted from the abdominal glands and serves as an excellent field character to separate it from H. cydno. Clusters of pupae are attractive to males, which wait on the female pupae and eventually mate with either the emerging adult or the pupa. In general, there is little known about the population biology of this species.