Heliconius erato (Heliconian sp.)


Many of the Heliconian butterflies, including Heliconius erato, produce a staggering variety of colour forms. 
Heliconius erato e.g. produces no less than 29 geographical forms, each of which corresponds almost exactly in colour and pattern to a 'sister' subspecies of Heliconius melpomene flying in the same area. 
There are often striking differences between the different forms of each species.
In some subspecies of Heliconius erato the cream patch on the forewing is reduced to a group of dashes in the shape of a claw.
In others it is replaced by a pair of large orange patches or may even be entirely absent. 

Andrew Neild, author of The Butterflies of Venezuela and a recognized authority on Neotropical butterflies, helped me identifying this butterfly.

Top: Los Tarrales Natural Reserve, Patulul, Suchitepequez, Guatemala, 17 January 2020
Last 4 photos: Tikal, Petén, Guatemala, 24 January 2020

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