Subject: Butterfly Conundrum
Location: Vancouver Aqurium, BC
December 16, 2012 6:15 am
I took this shot whilst on a visit to the unbelieable Vancouver Aqurium, an amazing place and a credit to Canada. This little fella was just sitting there minding its own business and it was just a passing shot with my 300mm Nikkor Lens
I’m from NewZealand and am amazed by your beautiful country – Thankyou. I hope you can help ID it for me as I’m compiling a photo book and I would of course like to impress my mates when they ask ”what bug is that”? Cheers
Signature: Stuart Bell
This butterfly is a Longwing or Heliconian in the tribe Heliconiini, but we cannot be certain of the species. If you try to contact the Vancouver Aquarium, they may be able to provide a conclucive identification. The Vancouver Aquarium Butterfly webpage indicates: “The butterflies at the Aquarium come from Costa Rica. They are bred at a butterfly farm and are shipped in the chrysalis or pupa stage.” The two Heliconians pictured on the web site are not your species. This beautiful chart from Nature.Com shows the diversity of Heliconians, but alas, only the upper wing patterns are illustrated. We believe your individual is in the genus Dryadula because of its similarity to the image of a Banded Orange, Dryadula phaetusa, which is pictured on BugGuide. BugGuide lists its range as “Central Mexico to Brazil. Rare appearances north to Texas and Kansas” and since the butterfly farm which supplies the Vancouver Aquarium is in Costa Rica, this might be a correct identification for your individual. We believe the Banded Orange is a good bet for a proper species identification. Costa Rica Hotels has a nice description of the species which is referred to as the Banded Orange Tiger. More information is available on the Butterflies and Moths of North America.