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Mail Delivery! The Postman Butterfly

21 April 2013 No Comment

Mail Delivery! The Postman Butterfly

Postman Butterflies (Heliconius melpomene) are tropical butterflies found in Central and South America. They are most common along sunlit forest edges with flowers. Belize’s Chaa Creek is home to a wide range of butterfly species, most famous including the Blue Morpho butterfly. Our reserve is bordered by dense rainforest, rivers and streams which the Heliconius melpomene butterfly loves.

Over their large range, Postman Butterflies have many geographic subspecies with very different markings. The subspecies found in Belize is dark brown to brownish black in color with a broad band of orange across each forewing and a stripe of pale yellow along each hindwing. The orange, yellow, and black colors of this butterfly are a form of aposematic (warning) coloration meant to warn potential predators like birds that it is poisonous.

The Postman Butterfly can be found in open areas, also near waterways such as rivers and streams. Its diet consists mostly of nectar and pollen that it collects and digests, while their much pickier caterpillars feed only on the leaves of passionflowers. Adults roost in groups, returning to the same location each night hence the name Postman Butterfly.

See also: Blue Morpho Butterflies in Belize



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