The Zebra Longwing, or Zebra Heliconian Butterfly, is the Florida State Butterfly.
It lays its eggs in groups on the tender tips of their
- our native
The female Zebra below is laying eggs on
Passiflora Suberosa, Corky Stem
. The yellow material in her proboscis is pollen. Zebra
butterflies are the only butterfly I know of in my area (Palm Beach and
Broward Counties in Southeast Florida) that eat pollen. I've heard that
they live longer than other butterflies
because they eat it.
above and the leaf the caterpillar is chewing are Passiflora Suberosa, but the leaves in the background are
. You can explore my
Butterfly Gardening Page
to find out why I
use the bush as a trellis for the vine.
The yellow eggs hatch into tiny caterpillars. As the caterpillars age,
they go through several stages of growth, and shed their skin between
each stage. The larger and older they get, the more their black and
white colors stand out.
Her abdomen is puffy with fluid. Some she'll pump into her wings to
extend them, and the rest she'll excrete. She'll have to hang
upside-down for a couple of hours to dry her wings before she can fly.
If she can't hang upside-down to dry them, they can dry bent and she
will be unable to fly.
Those black spikes are actually very soft. I've held lots of these
very cute caterpillars, and experienced no problems.
moth caterpillars you need to watch out
for; some of those sting, for example the IO
Moth Caterpillar, so you always want to find out what you're picking
up, and do a bit of research on it, before you handle it.
After the caterpillars have eaten their fill for about two weeks, they
wander off to someplace they feel safe, hang upside-down, and curl like
the letter 'J'. They'll hang in that 'J' form, shed their skin a final
time, and turn into a chrysalis like the photos on the right. About ten
days later, the butterfly will emerge, as seen in the image below where
a female Zebra Butterfly is emerging from her chrysalis.
The rest of the story about the emerging Zebra photo is on my
Zebra Heliconian "Birds and the Bees"
This next Zebra is sipping nectar from a
. Firebush is a favorite
Zebra nectar plant
, so if you want
happy Zebra Heliconian Butterflies that stay in your butterfly garden, plant a native Firebush
for them to nectar on. I'm planting more where I can see them easily as
I enter and exit my home, and through windows that I look out often,
such as the kitchen window. Dishes are a lot easier to do when there are
a dozen butterflies nectaring outside the window in front of you!
Zebra Roost: Zebra Heliconians are group sleepers. Follow them just
before sunset to find their roost.
I made a Zebra Heliconian
Coloring Page for Parents
to print for their children to color, and
have a nice gif (clipart like pix
the photo above.)
I've been told that my pages are too long, so I've split my Zebra images
into multiple pages: