A New Subspecies of Heliconius hermathena (Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae) from Southern Amazonia

  • A V L FreitasEmail author
  • R R Ramos
  • K L Silva-Brandão
  • N Coutouné
  • L M Magaldi
  • J L Pablos
  • N Rosser
  • K S BrownJr
Systematics, Morphology and Physiology


The present paper describes Heliconius hermathena curua Freitas & Ramos ssp. nov. This subspecies exhibits a non-mimetic phenotype typical of H. hermathena, but is characterized by the merging of the yellow streak over the forewing cubitus with the red postmedian band in the dorsal forewing. The subspecies is known from two localities in the south of Altamira, Pará State, Brazil, where it inhabits an isolated patch of “campina” vegetation more than 600 km from the nearest known H. hermathena populations. Geographic isolation of the population is supported by molecular data; based on the mitochondrial gene COI, all individuals of H. hermathena curua ssp. nov. form a monophyletic group and all haplotypes found in it are unique, suggesting that gene flow is not currently on-going. Given the fragile situation of Amazonian white sand forests and the proximity of the population to areas of intensive agriculture, this new subspecies and its habitat deserve attention.


Butterfly campina campinarana Heliconiini white sand environments 



We thank Marina V. Beirão, Marcio Romero, and Pedro Gusmão for their help during the field work in the Salto do Curuá region. André Simões and Rafael Oliveira helped with the identification of the plants used as nectar and pollen sources by the butterflies. Aline Peruchi helped with DNA extraction. Jim Mallet read and gave valuable suggestions to the last version of the manuscript. André C. Lopes helped with photographs of the type series and Tamara M. C. Aguiar helped by spreading all type specimens of H. h. curua ssp. nov. and the dozens of individuals collected by Keith Brown and Jorge Kesselring. Photographs of specimens and label data were provided by Alexandre Soares (Museu Nacional do Rio de Janeiro), Marcelo Duarte and Renato de Oliveira (Museu de Zoologia da USP) and Mirna Martins Casagrande (UFPR, Curitiba, Paraná). Andrew Neild, Renato Mattei, and Roberto Mattei helped by providing photos of H. h. renatae from Venezuela. We thank the ICMBIO for the collecting permit (SISBIO 10438-1). Brazilian specimens are registered in the SISGEN (ABE5972). AVLF thanks the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico - CNPq (grants 302585/2011-7 and 303834/2015-3), RedeLep-SISBIOTA-Brasil/CNPq (563332/2010-7), National Science Foundation - NSF (DEB-1256742), Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo - FAPESP (grant 2011/50225-3) and the United States Agency for International Development - USAID / the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), under the PEER program (Sponsor Grant Award Number: AID-OAA-A-11-00012) (Mapping and Conserving Butterfly Biodiversity in the Brazilian Amazon). KLSB thanks FAPESP (grant 2012/16266-7) and CNPq (PDS fellowship, Process 163700/2017-6). NR thanks the National Geographic Waitt grant (W400-15).

Author Contribution Statement

AVLF, RRR, and KLSB conceived the study. KLSB, LMM, JLP, and NC obtained and analyzed the molecular data. AVLF, NR, and KSB compiled geographical data. RRR, AVLF, NR, and KSB carried out field work. NR revised the English in the final version. All authors contributed in the form of discussions and suggestions and approved the final manuscript.

Funding Information

Support for components of this work was provided through a collaborative grant, Dimensions US-Biota-São Paulo: Assembly and evolution of the Amazon biota and its environment: an integrated approach, supported by the US National Science Foundation (NSF DEB 1241056), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and FAPESP (grant 2012/50260-6); by the United States Agency for International Development - USAID / the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), under the PEER program (Sponsor Grant Award Number: AID-OAA-A-11-00012) (Mapping and Conserving Butterfly Biodiversity in the Brazilian Amazon); by the CNPq (grants 302585/2011-7, 303834/2015-3, 563332/2010-7 and 163700/2017-6) and by FAPESP (grants 2011/50225-3 and 2012/16266-7); by the National Geographic Waitt grant (W400-15); and by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001. This study was also funded with the assistance of SK Films and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, creators of the Henry Bates IMAX film “Amazon Adventure” (thanks to Wendy MacKeigan and Jonathan Baker in memorian).


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Copyright information

© Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Depto de Biologia Animal and Museu de Zoologia, Instituto de BiologiaUniv Estadual de CampinasCampinasBrasil
  2. 2.Centro de Biologia Molecular e Engenharia GenéticaUniv Estadual de CampinasCampinasBrasil
  3. 3.Centro de Ciências Naturais e HumanasUniv Federal do ABCSanto AndréBrasil
  4. 4.National Center of Science and Technology of Bioethanol – CTBECampinasBrasil
  5. 5.Dept of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UnivCambridgeUSA

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