Crimson Patched Longwing

Erato Heliconian, Common Names: Red Passion Flower Butterfly or Crimson-Patched Longwing, Wing span: 2 5/8 - 3 1/8 inches (6.7 - 8 cm). Identification: Forewing black with pink-red band; hindwing black with yellow stripe. Life history: Males patrol during the day for females, and also mate with females as they emerge from the chrysalis. After mating, males place a repellant chemical on the female's abdomen to keep other males from mating with her. Eggs are laid singly on young tendrils and shoots, which the caterpillars eat. Flight: June and August-September in South Texas, all year in the tropics. Caterpillar hosts: Various passion-vines (Passiflora species). Adult food: Flower nectar and pollen. Habitat: Tropical and subtropical forests and edges. Range: Brazil north through Central America to Mexico; a rare stray to South Texas.