On Aug 3, 2006, artcons from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:
Edited in; If you live in Florida, chances are you have seen the Zebra longwing butterfly, but how many of you have seen it's caterpillar.
This is it, the caterpillar of the Zebra Longwing Butterfly, the official State butterfly of Florida. They are found throughout the state. An unusual fact about the Zebra longwing is Zebra longwings feed on nectar and pollen. They are the only butterflies known to eat pollen which is probably why they have a long lifespan of about six months. If denied pollen, they live a more typical lifespan of about one month.
Mine lay their eggs on passiflora Lutea & Suberosa, both of them are Florida natives.
Zebra longwings are also friendly. If you catch them in a resting state around dusk, it's possible to have them move onto your finger or hand and then move back to where they were resting.
They are slow flying so they are easy to follow. Part of the reason for this is their aposematic (warning don't eat me) coloration.
I think they are the most graceful butterfly I have seen in my yard.
On May 5, 2007, sueatkins from Brooksville, FL wrote:
In my area in Florida, the female deposits eggs in the vine tips and tendrils which are in the shade. So if you want to provide host plants for the zebra longwing, plant some passiflora in the shade under trees. This won't necessarily keep the gulf fritillary away from leaves you intend for the zebra longwing because the fritillary is NOT picky: sun or shade, tendril or big leaf, doesn't seem to matter to the fritillary. You will definitely know when you have the zebra longwing cats because they are white with black hairs as opposed to their orange and black cousins. The chrysalis of both are very similar and resemble dried up crinkled leaves with horns. You can find chrysalides by watching for fluttering adults as the sun is setting. These males are hovering around a chrysalis and will mate before the female emerges.
I found 8 of these catepillars on my passion flower vine today. I looked them up to find out they are zebra longwing catepillars. I have seen several of these butterflies zipping throuhg the yard lately so I guess now there will be more!