The Sara, Heliconius sara

The Sara is a common butterfly in gardens and rainforests from Guatemala to the southern Amazon. Adult Saras prefer forest edges or open areas, where they fly slowly in the middlestory.

Towards the tips, the forewings are black with two white bands and dark blue towards the body. The hindwings are dark blue and black. The ventral surface is black with red markings beside the body and two white forewing bands.

They ‘trap-line’ feed, visiting Lantana for nectar and Psiguria for pollen each day along a predefined route. Females gather in groups to lay eggs on the new shoots of host plants. At night, adults roost in small groups on twigs or tendrils within 10 m of the ground. Caterpillars are yellow with black bands and a black head. They pupate in pale brown chrysalids with black spines and veins. Sara caterpillars feed on passion vine (family: Passifloraceae) .

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