|Great Spangled Fritillary – Speyeria cybele
Live adult butterflies photographed at
Des Plaines and Winfield, Illinois
Butterfly Main | Skippers | Butterfly Index
|Subfamily Heliconiinae can be divided into 45-50 genera and were sometimes treated as a separate family Heliconiidae within the Papilionoidea.
Most longwings are found in the Tropics, particularly in South America; only the Argynnini are quite diverse in the Holarctic. Especially tropical species feed on poisonous plants, characteristically Passifloraceae vines, as larvae, becoming poisonous themselves. The adult butterflies announce their acquired toxicity with strong aposematic colors, warning off would-be predators. There are several famous cases of Batesian and MÃ¼llerian mimicry both within this group and with other butterflies. Other commonly-seen foodplants are Fabaceae (which also contain several toxic species), and particularly among northernly species Violaceae.
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Order Lepidoptera, which contains both butterflies and moths, includes at least 125,000 known species including 12,000 in North America. Butterflies are revered for their brightly colored wings and pleasing association with fair weather and flowers.