Butterfly Headache

This is a Tiger Longwing – Heliconius hecale. (I think)

This species of butterfly, is fascinating. It has 29 subspecies and each of these is a mimic of not only butterflies in the same genus, but also of other butterflies in a totally different tribe.

I put too many hours in trying to wrap my head around this.
Honestly, who is mimicking who here?!?

That being said, if this is H. hecale, it is a unique little butterfly in that it eats pollen along with the normal nectar meal.

And that brings up another question. How does said butterfly eat pollen? Does it stuff it up its proboscis? Does it put a plug of nectar on the end of the proboscis and such nectar up after it? Does it dip pollen in nectar and suck it up all together?

Another trick this butterfly has…the ability to induce headaches.
If anyone has any answers to these riddles, I would love to know.

Also, if you or anyone you know appreciates the important role of arthropods and would like to get involved on a deeper level and support my photography and conservation efforts, please visit Patreon.com/KarlaThompson
The pollinators and I thank you!

Nikon D3x, Nikkor 200mm macro, ISO100, 1/60, F7.1, three diffused SB200 flash heads, tripod

December 2016, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

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