Julia Heliconian – Dryas iulia
Dryas iulia (often incorrectly spelled julia), commonly called the Julia Butterfly or Julia Heliconian, is a species of brush-footed butterfly. The sole representative of its genus Dryas, it is native from Brazil to southern Texas and Florida, and in summer can sometimes be found as far north as eastern Nebraska. Over 15 subspecies have been described.
Its wingspan ranges from 82 to 92 mm, and it is colored orange (brighter in male specimens) with black markings; this species is somewhat unpalatable to birds and belongs to the “orange” Batesian mimic complex.
This butterfly is a fast flier and frequents clearings, paths, and margins of forests and woodlands. It feeds on the nectar of flowers, such as lantanas (Lantana) and Shepherd’s-needle (Scandix pecten-veneris). Its caterpillars feeds on leaves of passion vines including Passiflora affinis and Yellow Passionflower (P. lutea) in Texas.