Zebra Longwing Butterfly - Heliconius charitonia
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.
The 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.
The 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.