Common name: Julia butterfly, Julia heliconian, Flame, Flambeau
Distribution: Southern U. S. throughout the Antilles and Central America to subtropical southern South America. Now found in Malaysia Singapore and Peninsula Thailand (see additional notes).
Image locations: Songkla (Hat Yai)
Additional notes: The Neotropical butterfly Dryas iulia has been collected from several locations in Thailand and Malaysia since 2007, and has been observed breeding in the wild, using introduced Passiflora foetida as a larval host plant. The butterfly is bred by a butterfly house in Phuket, Thailand, for release at weddings and Buddhist ceremonies, and we hypothesized that this butterfly house was the source of wild, Thai individuals. We compared wing patterns and COI barcodes from two, wild Thai populations with individuals obtained from this butterfly house. All Thai individuals resemble the subspecies D. iulia modesta, and barcodes from wild and captive Thai specimens were identical. This unique, Thai barcode was not found in any of the 30 specimens sampled from the wild in the species' native range, but is most similar to specimens from Costa Rica, where many exporting butterfly farms are located. These data implicate the butterfly house as the source of Thailand's wild D. iulia populations, which are currently so widespread that eradication efforts are unlikely to be successful. [Citation: Burg NA, Pradhan A, Gonzalez RM, Morban EZ, Zhen EW, Sakchoowong W, et al. (2014) Inferring the Provenance of an Alien Species with DNA Barcodes: The Neotropical Butterfly Dryas iulia in Thailand. PLoS ONE 9(8): e104076. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0104076]
Images of Dryas iulia moderata from Thailand.
Dryas iulia moderata (N. Riley, 1926) Hat Yai, Songkhla, February 2016