Etymology: Hecuba was King Priam of Troy's wife and mother of 19 children by him, the most famous being Hector, Cassandra and Paris. When her youngest son Polydoris was killed by the king of Thrace, she put out his eyes and murdered his sons. The stories about her end vary: she committed suicide by jumping into the Hellespont, was killed or turned into a bitch. Hecuba is found in the Iliad and the Aeneid. She also appears in the plays Hecuba and The Trojan Women by Euripides and is mentioned in Shakespeare's Hamlet (Hecuba).
H. hecuba occurs from 1,000 to 2,400 m in cloud forest. Usually, individuals fly rapidly and in the canopy.
Hostplant: H. hecuba larvae feed primarily on plants from the subgenus Granadilla from Simplicifoliae, Lobatae, and Kermesinae sections (Brown, 1981).
Early stages: Females usually place 10 to 30 eggs in growing shoots and tendrils of the host plant. Early instar larvae have a green and yellow body with black bands. Mature larvae have black scoli and head, length is approximately 1 cm. Caterpillars are gregarious (Brown, 1981).
Adult: Heliconius hecuba butterflies are black with a variety of yellow or white bands or spots on forewings and/or hindwings.
Heliconius hecuba is distributed in the north of the Andes. This map shows an approximate representation of the geographic distribution of this species. The original data used to draw these maps are derived from Brown (1979) which is available at Keith S. Brown Jr. (1979). Ecological Geography and Evolution in Neotropical Forests.
The Hecuba Longwing (Heliconius hecuba) is a species of butterfly of the Nymphalidae family. It lives in altitudes ranging from 1000 to 2400 m in cloud forests in the northern Andes from Colombia to Ecuador.
- H. h. bonplandi Neukirchen, 1991 (Ecuador)
- H. h. cassandra C. & R. Felder, 1862 (Colombia)
- H. h. choarina Hewitson, 1872 (Ecuador)
- H. h. creusa H. & R. Holzinger, 1989 (Colombia)
- H. h. crispus Staudinger, 1885 (Colombia)
- H. h. flava Brown, 1979 (Ecuador)
- H. h. hecuba Hewitson, 1858 (Colombia)
- H. h. lamasi Neukirchen, 1991 (Ecuador)
- H. h. salazari Neukirchen, 1993 (Colombia)
- H. h. tolima Fassl, 1912 (Colombia)
- H. h. walteri Salazar, 1998 (Colombia)
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