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.