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The Zebra Longwing butterfly or Zebra Heliconian, is unmistakable with its long narrow wings, which are striped black and pale yellow. Zebra Heliconian is the Florida State Butterfly.
Passiflora Suberosa/ Corkystem Passion Flower Vine is the most common of the four species of passion flower vines. Its blooms are smaller than a dime. It is the most used caterpillar food plant of the Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Heliconian and Julia Dryas Butterflies. I planted this vine in my backyard with the hope of recording the whole metamorphosis cycle and so far I have succeeded with my first Zebra Heliconian emerging from her chrysalis this morning. There are Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars in the same small vine and I see two chrysalises ready which butterflies should emerge over the weekend.
An unusual feature of the longwing, or heliconian, butterflies is that the adults are relatively long lived. Most other butterflies live only a few weeks, but heliconians continue to live and to lay eggs for several months. Their tropical or semitropical habitat makes this possible; furthermore the feeding habits of the adults are important in prolonging their lives. The adults feed on nectar of flowers, like most other butterflies, but a special characteristic of heliconian butterflies is that they can also feed on pollen.