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Zebra Longwing Butterfly - Heliconius charitonia

Characteristics
Range
Habitat
Diet
Life Cycle
Behavior

 Classification

 Phylum:
Arthropoda
 Class: Insecta
 Order: Lepidoptera
 Family: Heliconiidae 
 Genus: Heliconius

Zebra longwing


  Characteristics

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

 

  Range

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

  Habitat

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

  Diet

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 five to fifteen 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.

  Behavior

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



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