Elzunia humboldt

if you look at Elzunia humboldt on butterfliesofamerica, you can see that :

  • E. h. albomaculata from  Central Ecuador looks just like  judsoni from North Peru, but…  right between these two flies cassandrina, which is very different;


  • you also see that under the E. h. humboldt and E. h. bomplandii  headings,  you have  many different phenotypes that obviously cannot belong to one subspecies.


  • then you have atahualpa, joycei and regalis, those ssp with a white or yellow band on the hindwing upperside, atahualpa flying in NE Peru, along with judsoni ? the other two flying in Colombia, along with humboldt and bomplandii ?


how could that be ?


if you focus on Sangay NP,  between 1700 and 2000 meters, the situation is just as bad :


  • officially  we only have two subspecies :
    • E. h. albomaculata in the North, particularly in the upper Pastaza valley,
    • and  E. h. cassandrina from the Macas area

(it should be noted that these two ssp come from the first two roads built across the Andes in this particular area)



  • but in fact :
    •         between  Macas and the Pastaza valley, where there is no road, we found specimens halfway between albomaculata and cassandrina ;
    •         and in the Rio Paute valley, where there is a newer road,  we found an extreme form of cassandrina,  with a narrower HW yellow band
    •         and recently, while exchanging with Jean-François le Crom who's presently working on Elzunia humboldt, we went through our old   specimens and discovered that the albomaculata situation in the upper Pastaza valley is not that clear , with sympatry between specimens looking exactly like the so called Elzunia coxeyi and others looking like typical official albomaculata?



from North to South the Park is 150 km, and we may well have a cline over that distance ; we’ve not been able to carry our investigation much further because these four areas seem to be the only ones where we can reach the necessary elevation of 1700 m ; we did not find any other access.


to get back to the global picture,  we would very much appreciate  getting Elzunia humboldt pictures  with precise data,  and particularly from Colombia.


and we would also very much appreciate Heliconius hecuba pictures as we found an identical situation with this similar looking Heliconius.




Cundinamarca, near Bogotà, Colombia - 1700 m


Sucumbios, Colombia, near the border with Ecuador - 1700m


la Bonita, Ecuador, on the border with Sucumbios


upper Pastaza valley, Ecuador - 1700/1900 m

the last three are females; all the above specimens have been collected in the same, very small area


Sardinayacu, 30 km North of Macas - 1900 m



Morona Santiago, West of Macas - 1700 m


rio Paute Valley - 1700 m