Butterflies – Julia – Dryas iulia
Above photo from my trip to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico in 2006.
The Julia Butterfly is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of about 7 cm which flits rather quickly from location to location rather than fluttering like the Rice Paper or the Monarch butterflies. It’s bright orange coloration makes it a popular attraction at public butterfly greenhouses and “live” butterfly exhibitions where it can often be photographed with its long, beautifully colored orange wings spread out wide.
Its common names would include Julia, Orange Julia, Flame and Julia Heliconia. This latter name is reflective of the sub-family name Heliconiinae of which this butterfly is a member. Members of the Heliconiinae are also often referred to as “Longwings” but the term “Julia Longwing” although descriptive is not normally used for this butterfly.
Caterpillars feed on Passiflora sp. of vines (Passion vines) and the Julia butterflies range include the northern edges of Brazil through Central America to the southern USA (Texas). As adults they feed on nectar and plant fluids secreted by such insect pests as aphids.
The Julia is one of a number of species of butterflies that can be successfully bred in captivity and is, therefore, often captive-bred in the larger of the butterfly conservatories of the world as well as on commercial butterfly farms.