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Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charitonius)

Order: Lepidoptera (le-pid-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Nymphalidae (nim-FAL-ih-dee) (Info)
Genus: Heliconius (hel-ih-KOH-nee-us) (Info)
Species: charitonius


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Brooksville, Florida (2 reports)
Cape Coral, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Dunedin, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2 reports)
Hollywood, Florida (2 reports)
Jacksonville, Florida (4 reports)
Lakeland, Florida
Lutz, Florida (2 reports)
Merritt Island, Florida
Miami, Florida (3 reports)
Micanopy, Florida
Naples, Florida (2 reports)
Orlando, Florida (2 reports)
Palm Coast, Florida
Palm Harbor, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Sebastian, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Wauchula, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Arlington, Texas
Floresville, Texas
Granbury, Texas
Los Fresnos, Texas
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Mar 9, 2017, fixerupper from Pompano Beach, FL wrote:

This state butterfly of Florida also happens to be my favorite local butterfly. I am fortunate enough to have a colony of these in my backyard. They love my jatropha. They stick around because I have a nice semi-shaded area where they like to roost for the night. I will be planting some passiflora soon to have a host plant as well.


On Feb 16, 2017, Fvsh118 from Hollywood, FL wrote:

We have a passion flower vine in the backyard covered in zebra long wings. However, we also have an azalea bush in the front which stays covered with these guys. For a long time, I just thought the Azalea was a nectar plant and didn't pay much attention. I've never heard it being a host plant for a zebra. Then one day as I got looking closer, I saw for the zebra all bets were off.


On Jan 21, 2016, AFinSD from San Diego, CA wrote:

I saw this butterfly at the "Butterflies Alive" enclosed butterfly exhibit at The Living Desert in Palm Desert, CA. (although it is now called "Butterflies: Winged Wonders").

Butterflies are my favorite insect and I had a wonderful experience.

If you happen to be in the Palm Desert area, I highly recommend visiting. Here is a link to their website:



On Oct 20, 2009, mrshaller from Naples, FL wrote:

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!


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 w... read more


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 mo... read more