The Zebra Longwing or Zebra Heliconian (Heliconius charithonia) is a species of butterfly belonging to the subfamily Heliconiinae of the Nymphalidae. It was declared the official butterfly for the state of Florida in the United States in 1996.
The caterpillar feeds on Yellow Passionflower (Passiflora lutea), Corky-stemmed Passionflower (Passiflora suberosa), and Two-flower Passionflower (Passiflora biflora). The adults are unusual among butterflies in that they eat pollen as well as sip nectar. This ability contributes to their longevity—3 months as an adult. Because of their relatively long lifespan and their activity throughout the day, this is a popular species with butterfly houses. Another unusual feature is that adults roost in groups of up to 70, and return to the same roost each evening.
Featured in Bees, Butterflies, Art on April 15/2012
Featured in Breathtaking Wild Animals & Plants on March 5/2012
Featured in Closeups in Nature on February 24/2012
Featured in Wonder of Wings on February 22/2012
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Butterfly Kisses, Johanna