2 weeks ago
Zebra Longwing - Heliconius charithonia
DID YOU KNOW:
Unlike most other butterflies, male Zebra Longwings mate with a female before the female has a chance to emerge from its chrysalis.
The zebra longwing butterfly or zebra heliconian, Heliconius charitonia, is unmistakable with its long narrow wings, which are striped black and pale yellow.
They fly slowly and gracefully and are not easily startled. They gather in roosts to spend the night returning to the same place daily; all this making it easy to observe them
An unusual feature of the longwing, or heliconian, butterflies is that the adults are relatively long lived. Most other butterflies live only a few weeks, but heliconians continue to live and to lay eggs for several months. Their tropical or semitropical habitat makes this possible; furthermore the feeding habits of the adults are important in prolonging their lives. The adults feed on nectar of flowers, like most other butterflies, but a special characteristic of heliconian butterflies is that they can also feed on pollen.
This species is common in Mexico and Central America and it is also found in most of Florida and in some areas of Texas, where it can be seen year round. Occasionally it wanders farther north as far as South Carolina and some of the central states, although it is not likely to survive the cold. Florida designated this striking creature as its state butterfly in 1996.