Ligers? Wholphins? Grolar Bears!? Unbelievable Animal Hybrids

Heliconius Butterflies


Heliconius_mimicry - Repeating Patterns of Mimicry, Meyer A, PLoS Biology, Vol. 4
Heliconius mimicry. Repeating Patterns of Mimicry, Meyer A, PLoS Biology, Vol. 4.

Heliconius is a genus of brush-footed butterflies native to the New World, from South American and the southeast United States. While Heliconius butterflies seem no different from other butterflies, they are prime examples of hybrid speciation.

Many of the species in the Heliconius genus originated as hybrids of other Heliconius species and are now reproductively isolated from their parent species. This means that the Heliconius butterfly species have interbred so much that they have created completely new species.