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Zebra Longwing Butterfly - Heliconius charitonia



 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Arthropoda
 Class: Insecta
 Order: Lepidoptera
 Family: Nymphalidae
 Genus: Heliconius


Zebra longwingThe zebra longwing butterfly has long, narrow wings. Its wings are black with light yellow zebra-like stripes. It has long black antennae.


The zebra longwing butterfly is found in the southern United States from Texas to Florida. It is also found in Central America and northern South America.


The zebra longwing butterfly lives in warm, damp tropical areas. It is often found in hammocks and thickets.


Zebra longwingThe zebra longwing butterfly caterpillars eat the leaves of passion flowers. The passion flower contains a toxin that gives the zebra longwing an unpleasant taste and makes it poisonous to predators. The butterfly drinks the nectar of a wide range of flowers.

Life Cycle

Zebra longwingThe zebra longwing butterfly begins mating right after it emerges from its chrysalis. The female lays 5-15 eggs on the leaves of passion flower vines. The caterpillar has a white body with long black spines and a yellow head. If weather conditions are right, the zebra longwing butterfly can go from egg to butterfly in a little over three weeks.


Zebra longwingWhen it is disturbed, the zebra longwing butterfly makes a creaking sound by wiggling its body. At night, large groups roost together on tree limbs. They return to the same roost night after night.