Subfamily: Heliconiinae

Family:NymphalidaeRafinesque, 1815
Subfamily:HeliconiinaeSwainson, 1827


Family: Nymphalidae

The Nymphalidae is a family of several thousand species found in all zoogeographical regions of the world. Most are medium or large in size, but the family is highly variable given that it also includes the Satyrinae, a subfamily that has been designated as a family in its own right in earlier classifications.

The forelegs in both sexes are vestigial and useless for walking. In the male, there are typically only 2 tarsal joints and the legs have a brush-like appearance, resulting in a common name for this family - the "brush-footed butterflies". The female foreleg has 4 tarsal joints which, when compared with the male, provides a mechanism of determining the sex of the adult. The midleg and hindleg are normal in both sexes and both tibia and tarsus may have spines.

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Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne)
Photo © Nigel Kiteley

White Admiral (Limenitis camilla)
Photo © Peter Eeles

The forewing always has 12 veins. Given the variability of this family, there are no further distinguishing characteristics that apply to the family as a whole.

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Nymphalidae (Danainae)
Danaus plexippus

Nymphalidae (Satyrinae)
Pyronia tithonus

Nymphalidae (Nymphalinae)
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Boloria selene

Photo © Timothy Freed, whose original drawings are shown in Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 7, Issue 1 (Emmet & Heath, 1989)

Subfamily: Heliconiinae

Description to be completed.


This subfamily is represented by the following tribes:


This subfamily is represented by the following genera:


This subfamily is represented by the species shown below.

Julia - imago - Cayo Coco, Cuba - 19-Oct-06 (1)

Dryas julia
Photo © Pete Eeles

Pearl-bordered-Fritillary- 5D37078 Wyre Forest May 2012

Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Boloria euphrosyne
Photo © IainLeach

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary 2010

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Boloria selene
Photo © Gruditch

Weaver's Fritillary - Alpes-Maritimes - 11 August 2012

Weaver's Fritillary
Boloria dia
Photo © CFB

Queen of Spain Fritillary - imago - Rhodopi, Bulgaria - 07-Jul-07 (1057)

Queen of Spain Fritillary
Issoria lathonia
Photo © Pete Eeles

Silver Washed Fritillary (male) - 22nd June 2014, Lower Woods, nr. Wickwar, Gloucestershire

Silver-washed Fritillary
Argynnis paphia
Photo © David M

Cardinal - imago - Thatcham - 27-Jun-09 (3) {REARED}

Mediterranean Fritillary
Argynnis pandora
Photo © Pete Eeles

Dark-Green-Fritillary Bakewell, Derbys 11 May 2011- 03C3221

Dark Green Fritillary
Argynnis aglaja
Photo © IainLeach

High Brown Fritillary Male - Arnside Knott, Cumbria 9-July-09

High Brown Fritillary
Argynnis adippe
Photo © Vince Massimo

Niobe Fritillary - imago - Lauenensee, Lauenen, Switzerland - 10-Jul-11

Niobe Fritillary
Argynnis niobe
Photo © Pete Eeles

Great Spangled Fritillary - Townsend, Massachusetts, USA  20-June-2013 [Damian Pinguey]

Great Spangled Fritillary
Argynnis cybele
Photo © Damian Pinguey