Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

El papel de cianuro en la oviposición de Heliconius (Nymphalidae : Heliconiinae) sobre Passiflora (Passifloraceae)


Zach Sheff



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Publication Date

December 2007


Vines of the Passifloraceae contain cyanide that deters most potential herbivores but not Heliconius spp. (Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae). Despite their ability to cope with cyanide in Passifloraceae, Heliconius spp may preferentially oviposit on leaves with lower cyanide concentrations, as young larval stages may still be subject to toxicity. Leaf samples both with and without eggs were collected from Passiflora spp. from the Monteverde Butterfly Garden and were assayed for cyanide concentration. There was no significant relationship between cyanide concentration and oviposition (mean concentration with eggs = 6.04 + 9.41 (μg/mg), mean concentration = 11.13 + 18.84 (μg/mg); t = 1.15, p = 0.26, df = 42). Thus, ovipositing Heliconius are either indiscriminate in their choice of leaves or are selecting leaves based upon other traits that are more important to determining egg survivorship or early larval development. Los bejucos en Passifloraceae contienen cianuro que ahuyenta a la mayoría de los herbívoros potenciales, pero no a Heliconius spp (Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae). A pesar de su habilidad para enfrentar al cianuro en Passifloraceae, Heliconius spp puede de manera preferencial poner huevos en las hojas con concentraciones mas bajas de cianuro; como las etapas larvales jóvenes pueden ser todavía susceptibles a la toxicidad. Se recolectaron muestras de hojas con y sin huevos de Passiflora spp del jardín de Mariposas en Monteverde y fueron analizadas para la concentración de cianuro.


Nymphalidae, Passiflora, Plant toxins, Toxinas vegetales, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone--Cerro Plano, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--Cerro Plano, CIEE Fall 2007, CIEE Otoño 2007


Student affilliation : Department of biology, Indiana University Born Digital

Subject: topical

Nymphalidae; Passiflora; Plant toxins; Toxinas vegetales; CIEE Fall 2007; CIEE Otoño 2007

Subject: geographic

Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone--Cerro Plano; Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--Cerro Plano



Holding Location

Monteverde Institute MVI



The role of cyanide in oviposition by Heliconius (Nymphalidae  :  Heliconiinae) on Passiflora (Passifloraceae)



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