Dryadula phaetusa

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Banded orange heliconian
Dorsal view
Dryadula phaetusa - ventral.jpg
Ventral view
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Tribe: Heliconiini
Genus: Dryadula
Michner, 1942
Species: D. phaetusa
Binomial name
Dryadula phaetusa
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Dryadula phaetusa - both sides of same specimen - MHNT
D. phaetusa underside

Dryadula is a monotypic genus of the butterfly family Nymphalidae. Its single species, Dryadula phaetusa, known as the banded orange heliconian, banded orange, or orange tiger, is native from Brazil to central Mexico, and in summer can be found rarely as far north as central Florida. Its wingspan ranges from 86 to 89 mm, and it is colored a bright orange with thick black stripes in males and a duller orange with fuzzier black stripes in females.

It feeds primarily on the nectar of flowers and on bird droppings; its caterpillar feeds on passion vines including Passiflora tetrastylis. It is generally found in lowland tropical fields and valleys.

This species is unpalatable to birds and belongs to the "orange" Batesian mimicry complex.[1]


Prior to their mating season, males of this species congregate by the hundreds on patches of moist soil that contain mineral salts (mud-puddling). When they cannot find such deposits, the insects visit various animals to drink salty secretions from their skin and nostrils.[2]


The genus Dryadula Michner, 1942, is monotypic; the type species is Papilio phaetusa Linnaeus, 1758 (Syst. Nat. 10 ed., 1: 478). The type locality, given as "Indiis", is supposed to refer to the West Indies or northern South America.


  1. ^ Pinheiro, Carlos E.G. (1996) Palatability and escaping ability in Neotropical butterflies: Tests with wild kingbirds (Tyrannus melancholicus, Tyrannidae). Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 59(4):351–365. HTML abstract
  2. ^ Richard Milner. (1999) Natural History 108(7):84–85.

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