name = Longwings
image_width = 240px
Mimicryin " Heliconius"
subfamilia = Heliconiinae
subfamilia_authority = Swainson, 1822
subdivision_ranks = Tribes
Acraeini Heliconiini Argynnini Vagrantini
and see text
synonyms =Heliconiidae Swainson, 1822
The Heliconiinae, commonly called heliconians or longwings, are a
subfamilyof the brush-footed butterflies(family Nymphalidae). They can be divided into 45-50 generaand were sometimes treated as a separate family Heliconiidae within the Papilionoidea. The coloration is predominantly reddish and black, and though of varying wing shape, the forewings are always elongated tipwards, hence the common name.
Most longwings are found in the
Tropics, particularly in South America; only the Argynniniare quite diverse in the Holarctic. Especially tropicalspecies feed on poisonous plants, characteristically Passifloraceaevines, as larvae, becoming poisonous themselves. The adult butterflies announce their acquired toxicity with strong aposematiccolors, warning off would-be predators. There are several famous cases of Batesian and Müllerian mimicryboth 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.Silva-Brandão "et al." (2008)]
Four or five tribes are generally recognized in the Heliconiinae. There have been numerous attempts to sort out the
phylogeneticsequence and delimitation of these, but while the former has made good progress, the latter has hitherto only achieved limited results.
Several phylogenies (and corresponding taxonomic adjustments) have been proposed, but though looking reasonable each and every one of them is only weakly supported. Even
cladisticanalyses of the same type of data often yield contradicting results depending on the exact method of evaluation. Ultimately, the reason is that just a fraction of the evolutionary diversity of Heliconiinae has been sampled.
What appears fairly certain is that the
Argynniniand Vagrantiniis closer relatives than any other two tribes of Heliconiinae. The Acraeiniand Heliconiiniare probably more basal lineages, but the exact placement of each respective to the other tribes cannot be considered well-resolved at all.
Some tribes are distributed among several
continents, resulting in a confusing phylogeographypattern. But as it seems, the apparent contradictions between systematicsand biogeographyare due the premature classifications based on insufficient taxonsampling. With studies becoming more and more comprehensive, the apparent anomalies seem to sort themselves out at least for the most part. For example, the confusing distribution pattern of "Acraea" in the wide circumscription is apparently simply due to te bulk of this morphologically conservative group warranting recognition as genus " Telchinia" – it stands to note that this group has on occasion been allied with " Actinote" rather than "Acraea", and this indeed appears to be correct.
In addition, the genus "
Pardopsis", often placed in the Acraeini, does almost certainly not belong there; it might better be placed in the Argynnini. The relationships of the genus " Cethosia" (sometimes treated as a tribe of its own) are even more mysterious, and it is likely that some other genera will eventually also be moved to a different tribe as they are studied in detail. Some, like the Argynnini " Argynnis", " Boloria" and " Issoria", might be overlumped and non- monophyleticand thus some genera presently usually considered junior synonyms of them might eventually be validated like "Telchinia".
Genera are presented in the presumed
phylogeneticsequence. Notable speciesare also given if no genus article exists. [Based on Wahlberg  , Silva-Brandão "et al." (2008). See also Savela (2008) for further sources.] AcraeiniBoisduval, 1833
Bematistes" Hemming 1935
* "Acraea" (
Miyana" Fruhstorfer 1914 (tentatively paced here)
Actinote" Hübner 1819 (including "Abananote" and "Altinote" ) HeliconiiniSwainson, 1822
Philaethria" Billberg 1820
Podotricha" Michener 1942
* "Dione" Hübner 1819
Agraulis" Boisduval & Le Conte 1835
Gulf Fritillary, "Agraulis vanillae"
Dryadula" – Banded Orange
* "Dryas" – Julia Heliconian
Eueides" Hübner 1816
Isabella's Heliconian, " Eueides isabella"
Heliconius" (including "Laparus", "Nerula") VagrantiniPinratana & Eliot, 1996
Lachnoptera" Doubleday 1847
Phalanta" Horsfield 1829
Small Leopard, "Phalanta alcippe"
Smerina" Hewitson 1874
Vindula" – cruisers Hemming 1934
Cirrochroa" Doubleday 1847
Large Yeoman, "Cirrochroa aoris"
Tamil Yeoman, "Cirrochroa thais"
Algiachroa" Parsons 1989
Algia" Herrich-Schäffer 1864
Terinos" Boisduval 1836
Cupha" Billberg 1820
Vagrans" Hemming 1934
** Vagrant, "Vagrans egista"
Argynnini(about 7 genera)
Cethosia" Fabricius 1807 – lacewings
Red Lacewing, "Cethosia biblis"
Leopard Lacewing, "Cethosia cyane"
Tamil Lacewing, "Cethosia nietneri"
Pardopsis" Trimen 1887 (probably Argynnini)
* (1981): The biology of "Heliconius" and related genera. "Annu. Rev. Entomol." 26: 427-456. doi|10.1146/annurev.en.26.010181.002235 [http://www.bioquest.org/summer2007/sessionC/BiologyOfHeliconius1981.pdf PDF fulltext]
* (2004): "The Butterfly Handbook": 130. Barron's Educational Series, Inc., Hauppauge, New York. ISBN 0-7641-5714-0
* (2008): Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and some other life forms – [http://www.funet.fi/pub/sci/bio/life/insecta/lepidoptera/ditrysia/papilionoidea/nymphalidae/heliconiinae/index.html Heliconiinae] . Version of 2008-FEB-09. Retrieved 2008-AUG-14.
* (2008): Phylogenetic relationships of butterflies of the tribe Acraeini (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Heliconiinae) and the evolution of host plant use. "Mol. Phylogenet. Evol." 46(2): 515-531. doi|10.1016/j.ympev.2007.11.024 (HTML abstract)
*  : Nymphalidae.net – [http://www.nymphalidae.net/Classification/Higher_class.htm The higher classification of Nymphalidae] . Retrieved 2008-AUG-14.
* [http://tolweb.org/Heliconiinae/12194 Tree of Life Heliconiinae]
* [http://www.heliconius.co.uk/ Heliconius Butterfly Website]
* [http://www.heliconius.org/ Heliconius Genomics Project]
* [http://www.ucl.ac.uk/taxome/jim/helicinf.htm/ Information about Heliconius]
* [http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/bfly/zebra_longwing.htm "Heliconius charitonia", zebra longwing] on the
UF/ IFAS Featured Creatures Web site
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