Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Zebra Longwing Butterfly

Visiting the Butterfly House at the Lake County Extension Center's Discovery Gardens in Tavares, Florida, on August 3, 2017, I photographed a beautiful butterfly that I first thought might be a Swallowtail. It was John, the leader there, who told me that it was a Zebra Longwing Butterfly!

Zebra Longwing Butterfly
Zebra Longwing Butterfly - Discovery Gardens
Did you know that the zebra longwing butterfly (Heliconius charitonius) was designated the official state butterfly of Florida in 1996? That's pretty cool to know.

Zebra Longwing Butterfly
Zebra Longwing Butterfly - Discovery Gardens
I have observed many black colored butterflies in my gardens, both in Jacksonville and Leesburg, Florida. Only recently having photographed this particular butterfly at the Discovery Gardens made me realize that I have probably observed that type of butterfly more often than realized!

Learning more about the Zebra Longwing Butterfly, it is quite interesting to know that when alarmed, this butterfly will make some kind of creaking sound! This butterfly is reported to be the only type of butterfly that will actually eat pollen. I wonder how they know that to be a fact? And, that eating pollen will give them a longer life span of some six months. It is kind of disturbing to know that most butterfly species have a one month life span. How sad!!!

Reading the reference page from the University of Florida, it said this butterfly cannot be confused with any other Florida butterfly. Hey, at first look, I confused it with a Swallowtail ... but am now very clear on the difference! Check out UF's page to see some cool photos of this butterfly in various life stages and to see the awesome host plant, the Purple Passionflower!

Returning to the Discovery Gardens, August 10, 2017, I photographed the Zebra Longwing Butterfly for the second time. That was precisely one week since the first sighting and photography.

Zebra Longwing Butterfly - Discovery Gardens
Zebra Longwing Butterfly - Discovery Gardens
Studying the markings on this butterfly, it sure does appear to be the very same butterfly previously photographed.


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Check out my other sightings of butterflies in Leesburg and Jacksonville, Florida:

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