Butterflies – Zebra Longwing – Heliconius charitonia
The Zebra Longwing is one of the favorites of the commercial butterfly houses and exhibits. They are long lived, flashy and attracted to various members of the Passion Vine which grow well in greenhouse environments. It range includes the southern USA where it is the official Florida butterfly as well as Central America, the northern portions of South America and various islands in the Caribbean. Like many butterflies, the Zebra Longwing caterpillar is able to absorb poisonous compounds found in the Passion Vines and pass those compounds along to the adult stage thus providing some deterrent to predators which might otherwise view them as a meal. Because they survive for long periods in captivity (2 -3 months) and breed comfortably in captivity, the Zebra Longwings are often used in butterfly studies as well as being just another pretty butterfly flitting from flower to flower in butterfly exhibits.