Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Postman Butterfly

The Postman Butterfly also known as Heliconius melpomene lives in the jungles of Central America. In its larval state as a spiny caterpillar, it is a voracious eater with a preference for the passionflower vine. The adult butterfly feeds on this vine's protein-rich pollen as well as nectar, and the added protein gives it a longer lifespan than most butterflies, usually from six to nine months. Because the passionflower is a highly poisonous plant, female butterflies lay their eggs on its youngest leaves, which contain less poison. As the larvae grow, they gradually absorb some of the poison and become immune to it.


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