The Doris Longwing Butterfly

Heliconius Doris, or Doris Longwing Butterfly

The Doris Longwing butterfly, resting on a leaf with its wings closed.
The Doris Longwing butterfly, resting on a leaf with its wings closed. | Source

The Doris Longwing butterfly is from the family of Brush-footed butterflies, or Family Nymphalidae. The other name for it is Heliconius Doris, or just Doris. This beauty is found naturally in areas from the Amazon Basin to Mexico.

One thing that strikes me about this butterfly is the color variances within the Doris Longwing group. You will find black and white always, but the extra touch of color can be red, orange red, silvers, blues and pale green. Sometimes there is a mixture of these colors, and they are really very beautiful. The one I captured above with my camera has the red tint on the bottom of the wings. There needs to be more research done on this butterfly, and I wish I was in a position to do this as a job, as I would love that! As for the general shape of the butterfly and its wings, this one is a beauty. You can see it better when wings are open and there is a very beautiful shape t them. A very elegant butterfly, slim but long, thus the name long wing.

The adult Doris Longwing loves to feed on pollen and nectar. Many people don't really consider butterflies to be pollinators like they do for bees, but butterflies definitely do their part for pollination. In recent years, there has been concern about the loss of bees or sizes of their populations and the effect that would have on the earth. While there seems to be some evidence that that is changing, its good for us to support and promote butterflies and moths and any other pollinators in the world as well.

You can grow a butterfly garden of your own to support the local native butterflies in your own area. If more of us did this, it would have a great impact, not to mention bring more beauty to our lives as well. Having a butterfly garden of your own, or just growing a few nectar flowers can be inviting to your local butterflies and pollinators.

Heliconius Doris, or Doris Longwing Butterfly

A Doris Longwing Butterfly resting on a leaf.
A Doris Longwing Butterfly resting on a leaf. | Source

Some unique characteristics

Something else that is unique to the Doris Longwing butterfly is that it doesn't have any "mimics."   We see other butterflies have mimics in nature, and it can help to boost their chances for survival.  For instance they may look very similar to another butterfly that has an awful taste when a predator tries to eat it. Over time, those predators avoid that butterfly because they learn to avoid the bad taste.  So when a completely different butterfly looks the same, they may adopt that same defense, even if they don't give off a bad taste when they are actually eaten.

The Doris Longwing does have different numbers of chromosomes from others in the same genus, however.  They can have different behaviors from others in the same genus, like the heliconius. 

Doris Longwing Butterfly Video - Getting Nectar from Flowers

Places you will find the Doris Longwing Butterfly in nature

show route and directions
A markerBrazil -
Brazil
[get directions]

B markerMexico -
Mexico
[get directions]

Doris Longwing doing a "mating dance."

Doris Longwing Butterfly Poll

Do you think you have ever seen a Doris Longwing Butterfly before?

  • Yes I have
  • No I have not
  • I am not sure, but it is possible!
  • I am not sure, but I doubt it.
See results without voting

Some Different Longwing Butterflies, flying, sunning, etc.

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Comments 8 comments

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

It sounds like a good reason to see Brazil. Another, of course, is the beaches. :-)


rpalulis profile image

rpalulis 5 years ago from NY

Great photo shot!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Interesting read. I live about 1/4 mile from the largest winter colony (Pismo Beach, California) of migrating Monarch butterflies... Tourist come from all over to watch them....


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Carolina Muscle, I hear that! I would love to go to Brazil for the beaches too! What would be better than being on the beach, then having some of these butterflies come by? Best of both! Thank you for your comment.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Thank you Rpalulis!


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Dallas, I would love to see something like that large Monarch colony one day, lucky that you live so close! I would be one of those tourists for sure. Thank you for your comment!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

This is another beautiful butterfly with those wonderful photographs. I love butterflies and plant flowers specifically to attract them. I would love to visit Brazil just to see it.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hi Pamela, I also would love to visit Brazil just to see them. I am glad to find another person that loves to plant flowers just to attract them. I think that is a wonderful thing, and helps them to live and thrive. They are great pollinators as well.

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