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Zebra Longwing
Heliconius charithonius
Nymphalidae

Description:
Medium sized butterfly with a wing span measuring up to 4 inches. The wings are black with narrow yellow stripes.
Range:
Florida and southern Texas, West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America; rarer to the north in North America.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
All year in South Florida.
Habitat(s):
A wide range of terrestrial habitats ranging from tropical hammocks and pinelands to gardens.
Reproduction:
Eggs are laid in groups of 5-15 on the leaf buds or leaves of the host plants. Unhatched eggs are sometimes eaten by young larvae. Multiple male adults tend female chrysalids and mating often takes place before the female emerges from the chrysalis.
Food:
Caterpillars feed on the leaves of host plants. Adults feed on nectar and also eat pollen. Native larval host plants include the vines corkystem passionflower (Passiflora suberosa) and maypop (Passiflora incarnata). Native nectar plants include the shrub firebush (Hamelia patens). Larvae will also feed on the edible passion fruit (Passiflora edulis).
Comments:
For more information, visit the Florida Museum of Natural History's Florida Wildflowers & Butterflies website, the University of Florida/IFAS Featured Creatures website, and Butterflies and Moths of North America.


 


Joe Barros
Kirsten N. Hines
Melissa E. Abdo
Erin Backus
Erin Backus