Zebra Longwing Butterfly; Heliconius charitonius

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Zebra Longwing
Heliconius charitonius

Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charitonius) drinking nectar
Firebush (Hamelia patens) is a favorite nectar source for a Zebra Longwing butterfly
Firecracker (Russelia sarmentosa) is a nectar source for a Zebra Longwing butterfly
Zebra Longwing
Florida State Butterfly
Firebush Hamelia patens is a
favorite nectar plant
Firecracker Russelia sarmentosa
is a favorite nectar source
for a Zebra Longwing butterfly.
Zebra Longwing eggs (Heliconius charitonius)
Zebra Longwing butterfly eggs (Heliconius charitonius) on passionvine (Passiflora sp.)
Zebra Longwing butterfly (Heliconius charitonius) caterpillars of various sizes.
Zebra Longwing eggs
through a microscope
Zebra Longwing eggs
on passionvine tendrils.
Zebra Longwing caterpillars
of various sizes.
Zebra Longwing butterfly (Heliconius charitonius) larva just molted
Zebra Longwing butterfly (Heliconius charitonius) butterfly freshly molted, its skin just behind it.
Zebra Longwing butterfly (Heliconius charitonius) caterpillars are white with black hair
Freshly molted larva
have white/clear spikes
A caterpillar just left
it's old skin.
Zebra caterpillars are
white with black 'hair'
Three shades of brown in Zebra Longwing butterfly (Heliconius charitonius) pupae or chrysalis
Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charitonius) butterfly chrysalis (cocoon) from the front looks like an insect with pinchers.
Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charitonius) butterfly pupa (chrysalis - cocoon) ready to emerge (eclose) as an adult butterfly
Zebra Longwing chrysalises
may be several shades of brown
The chrysalis (pupa, not cocoon)
looks like an insect
with pinchers
A chrysalis ready to emerge
shows butterfly wings
through the pupa skin
two sizes of Zebra Longwing butterfly (Heliconius charitonius) pupa chrysalis (Heliconius charitonius)
Zebra Longwing butterfly (Heliconius charitonius) drinking nectar from a trumpet flower
A Zebra Longwing (heliconius charitonius) butterfly sometimes shows pink in its wings
The size of a chrysalis
varies in size.
A Zebra Longwing Butterfly
drinks from a trumpet flower
Pink shows in some
Zebra Longwing wings.


Zebra Longwing butterflies lay eggs on passionvine that is in the shade. They lay eggs on the tips and on the tendrils of the vine.

Young caterpillars often eat together on the same leaf. This makes them especially easy for a predator to locate. Upon locating one caterpillar, it simply continues to eat caterpillars on the same leaf or sprig.

Zebra Longwing butterfly caterpillars (larvae) cannot (or rarely) eat passionvine with bright red blooms and live to become an adult.

Freshly molted caterpillars have clear/white hair/spines. After a short while, these turn black. Zebra Longwing caterpillars (larvae) are white with black hair/spines.

Favorite nectar sources for Zebra Longwing butterflies are Firebush, Firespike, Butterfly Bush, Trumpet Flower, Pentas, and Firecracker. They are especially attracted to red flowers.