This butterfly was named after an early Greek Poet who lived on the island of Lesbos in the Aegean sea. She ran a school for upper-class young women. Many believe that her poetry shows that she was attracted to her students. Though only a small part of her work has reached us, its raw emotional honesty is timeless. Other (male) poets of the time respected her, and the renowned Greek philosopher Plato was a fan; he called Sappho “The Tenth Muse”, giving her near-goddesslike status (Sappho)
Heliconius sapho is a member of the pupal-mating clade of Heliconius butterflies. It occurs in Central and northwestern South America to the west of the Andes. It is a Müllerian mimic with H. cydno, which exhibits parallel geographical variation in the mimetic wing pattern. Heliconius sapho is distributed from Central America to Ecuador.
This map shows an approximate representation of the geographic distribution of this species. The original data used to draw these maps are derived from Brown (1979) which is available at Keith S. Brown Jr. (1979). Ecological Geography and Evolution in Neotropical Forests.