Heliconius comprises a colorful and widespread genus of brush-footed butterflies commonly known as the longwings or heliconians. This genus is distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the New World, from South America as far north as the southern United States. The larvae of these butterflies eat passion flower vines (Passifloraceae). Adults exhibit bright wing color patterns which signal their distastefulness to potential predators.
Brought to the forefront of scientific attention by Victorian naturalists, these butterflies exhibit a striking diversity and mimicry, both amongst themselves and with species in other groups of butterflies and moths.