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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Butterfly Identification Help

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Question
Butterfly Conservatory Unidentified
Butterfly Conservatory  
Hi Saugy!

I vacationed in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada back in July and took a bunch of pics at the Butterfly Conservatory there.  I'm doing my level best to look up and identify most of them, and some are proving a little more difficult than others.

Attached is a pic of one that I can't find in my North American field guides.  Was hoping you might point me in the right direction if not give me a definitive ID.

Hope your summer is going well!

Warmest regards,

Bill

Answer
Dear Bill - This certainly does not appear to be a North American species; it looks like one of the heliconiids in the family Nymphalidae. Heliconiids are very widely distributed in the tropics and subtropics, and not knowing the geographic origins of your specimen makes a more definitive i.d. difficult. That aside, it resembles some species in the genus Heliconius - see http://tinyurl.com/mdyorju and http://tinyurl.com/k2qqbd6 for a couple of examples. These butterflies appear to be very popular with operators of butterfly conservatories/gardens.

Hope this helps,
Saugy  

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad

Expertise

Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.

Experience

21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Organizations
Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

Publications
American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

Education/Credentials
B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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