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A New Subspecies of Heliconius hermathena (Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae) from Southern Amazonia

Freitas, A V L, Ramos, R R, Silva-Brandão, K L, Coutouné, N, Magaldi, L M, Pablos, J L, Rosser, N, Brown, K S, Jr
Neotropical entomology 2019 v.48 no.3 pp. 467-475
Heliconius, forests, gene flow, habitats, haplotypes, intensive farming, mitochondrial genes, monophyly, new subspecies, phenotype, sand, wings, Amazonia, Brazil
The present paper describes Heliconius hermathena curua Freitas & Ramos ssp. nov. This subspecies exhibits a non-mimetic phenotype typical of H. hermathena, but is characterized by the merging of the yellow streak over the forewing cubitus with the red postmedian band in the dorsal forewing. The subspecies is known from two localities in the south of Altamira, Pará State, Brazil, where it inhabits an isolated patch of “campina” vegetation more than 600 km from the nearest known H. hermathena populations. Geographic isolation of the population is supported by molecular data; based on the mitochondrial gene COI, all individuals of H. hermathena curuassp. nov. form a monophyletic group and all haplotypes found in it are unique, suggesting that gene flow is not currently on-going. Given the fragile situation of Amazonian white sand forests and the proximity of the population to areas of intensive agriculture, this new subspecies and its habitat deserve attention.