- The zebra longwing is one of the most common butterflies bred and displayed in captive exhibits worldwide. Zebra longwing range : Texas to South Carolina, south through West Indies and Latin America, wandering to S. California, Great Basin , Colorado, and Great Plains . This butterfly flies year-round in Florida. A stunning butterfly that flies fairly slowly and enjoys nectaring in gardens.
Common Names in English:
Zebra, Zebra Butterfly, Zebra Heliconian, Zebra Longwing
'The Nymphalidae are members
of the Superfamily
Papilionoidea, the true butterflies. Distributed worldwide, butterflies of this family
are especially rich in the tropics. They are highly variable, and there are more species in this family than in any other. Adults
vary in size from small to large, and their front legs
are reduced, unable to be used for walking. Wing
is also highly variable: some species have irregular margins
(anglewings and commas), and others have long taillike projections (daggerwings). Browns, oranges, yellows, and blacks are frequent colors, while iridescent
colors such as purples and blues are rare. Adults of some groups are the longest-lived butterflies, surviving 6-11 months. Adult feeding behavior depends on the species, where some groups primarily seek flower nectar while others only feed
, rotting fruit, dung, or animal carcasses. Males exhibit
behaviors when seeking mates. Egg-laying
varies widely, as some species lay eggs
in clustsers, others in columns, and others singly. Caterpillar appearance
and behavior vary widely. Brushfoots overwinter
as larvae or adults.
Longwings are members of the Family Nymphalidae. They are richest in the tropics, but several genera are prominent in the Northern Hermisphere, including the fritillaries or silverspots and the lesser fritillaries. The adults of several species are distasteful, and many other species mimic the distasteful butterflies of this subfamily . Adults are long-lived, with some as long as six months. Males patrol in search of females. The adults of genus Heliconius are unique in that they intentionally collect pollen in their proboscis and then absorb its proteins.
Species Heliconius charithonia
Wings long and narrow; black with narrow yellow stripes . (ref. 105854)
Wings long and narrow; black with narrow yellow stripes .
Wing span : 2 3/4 - 4 inches (7 - 10.1 cm).
, moist forests
Most likely to be seen around the margins of maritime forests and thickets near the coast (its usual habitat in FL ). It can occur in wooded residential areas and gardens (where of uncertain origin ). Not likely in wide open habitats such as fields. (ref. 104685)
Caterpillar hosts: Passion-vines including Passiflora suberosa, P.
lutea, and P. affinis
food: Flower nectar and pollen,
which are gathered on a set
route or "trap-line".
include lantana and shepherd's needle
Foodplants are passion-flower (Passiflora) species. Females were seen ovipositing on both P. lutea and P. incarnata at Fort Macon State Park in 2008. The Zebra Heliconian has been reported as nectaring on butterfly-bush (Buddleia) in gardens in NC, and it nectars on lantana in SC and perhaps in NC. (ref. 104685)
Adult food: Flower nectar and pollen, which are gathered on a set foraging route or "trap-line". Favorite plants include lantana and shepherd's needle. (ref. 105854)
Males patrol for females, and are also attracted to female chrysalids. A male will wait on the chrysalis and mate with the female as she is about to emerge . He then deposits on her abdomen a chemical than repels other males. Eggs are laid in groups of 5-15 on leaf buds or leaves of the host plant; caterpillars feed at night on leaves. Adults roost communally in groups of 25-30 individuals.
The Zebra longwing's flight is slow and feeble, although it can put
on a burst of speed
if needed to escape
. These butterflies
roosts at night. It is thought such conglomerations
provide protection via strength of numbers; predators can only take
Flight: All year in South Texas and southern Florida, wanders north during warmer months.
Flight period: The dates fall between June (undated record ) and mid-November, though most sightings are from mid-August into November. (ref. 104685)
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- A.M.A. Aguinaldo et al., 1997 ex T. Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Latreille, 1829
- Snodgrass, 1938
- Heymons, 1901
- Order: Lepidoptera () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - Butterflies and Moths
- Superorder: Panorpida ()
- Cohort: Myoglossata ()
- Infraclass: Pterygota ()
- Subclass: Dicondylia ()
- Epiclass: Hexapoda ()
- Superclass: Panhexapoda ()
- Infraphylum: Atelocerata () - Heymons, 1901
- Subphylum: Mandibulata () - Snodgrass, 1938
- Phylum: Arthropoda () - Latreille, 1829 - Arthropods
- Superphylum: Panarthropoda () - Cuvier
- Infrakingdom: Ecdysozoa () - A.M.A. Aguinaldo et al., 1997 ex T. Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Protostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Name Status: Accepted Name .
Members of the genus Heliconius
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 26 species and subspecies in this genus:
H. antiochus (Anitochus Longwing) · H. charithonia (Zebra) · H. charithonia charithonia (Zebra Butterfly) · H. charithonia tuckeri (Zebra Longwing) · H. clysonimus (Passionvine Butterfly) · H. clysonymus (Clysonymus Longwing) · H. cydno (Blue and White Longwing) · H. doris (Doris Longwing) · H. eleuchia (Eleuchia Longwing Butterfly) · H. erato (Crimson Patched) · H. hecale (Tiger Longwing) · H. hecale zuleika (Hecale Longwing) · H. hecale zuleika f. albipunctata (Hecale Longwing) · H. hermathena (Hermathona Heliconian) · H. hortense (Mountain Longwing) · H. ismenius (Ismenius Tiger) · H. melpomene (Postman) · H. melpomene rosina (Tragic Longwing) · H. melpomene xenoclea (Xenoclea Longwing) · H. nattereri (Natterer's Longwing) · H. numata (Numata Longwing) · H. procula (Acting Longwing) · H. sara (Sara Longwing Butterfly) · H. sara fulgidus (Sara's Longwing) · H. telesiphe (Telesiphe Longwing) · H. wallacei (Wallace's Longwing)
- Search for Pictures: images.google.com
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- Butterflies of North Carolina
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Accessed through GBIF Data Portal February 26, 2008:
- Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (Costa Rica): Biodiversidad de Costa Rica
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2961619
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Lep-152433.0
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 2481042
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: IILEPJ4010
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 172096