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Zebra longwing

A species of Longwings, Also known as Zebra longwing butterfly
Scientific name : Heliconius charithonia Genus : Longwings

Zebra longwing, A species of Longwings
Also known as:
Zebra longwing butterfly
Botanical name: Heliconius charithonia
Genus: Longwings
Zebra longwing (Heliconius charithonia) Photo By arctic_mongoose , used under CC-BY-4.0 /Cropped and compressed from original

Description

The zebra longwing (Heliconius charithonia) is a beautiful butterfly that has a texture resembling a zebra. They feast and pollen and nectar, using the pollen to produce chemicals that poison predators if they are eaten, deterring most predators from attack. Unfortunately, their populations have been decimated after being caught in the crossfire of sprays meant to control mosquitos.
Adult Food Sources
Flower nectar and pollen, which are gathered on a set foraging route or "trap-line". Favorite plants include lantana and shepherd's needle.
Larva Food Source
Passion-vines including Passiflora suberosa, P. lutea, and P. affinis.
Biting/stinging
Not reported
Allergy-causing
Not reported
Venomous
Yes
The Zebra longwing can cause toxic reactions with a wide range of severity. However, the toxins are typically targeted at their prey and predators. They are usually not fatal to humans.
Pollinator
Yes
The Zebra longwing is often found near the corolla, where the fluffy hairs are easily covered with pollen, which can help pollinate the plant.
Phytophagous
Yes
The Zebra longwing feeds on plants and usually does not cause a major problem. However, If you observe the number getting larger, you need to take it seriously.

People often ask

Are Zebra longwing harmful?

The zebra longwing (Heliconius charithonia) is a beautiful butterfly that has a texture resembling a zebra. They feast and pollen and nectar, using the pollen to produce chemicals that poison predators if they are eaten, deterring most predators from attack. Unfortunately, their populations have been decimated after being caught in the crossfire of sprays meant to control mosquitos.

Harmful to human

Harmful to human

Some larvae of tortoiseshell butterflies feed on milkweed, which is a poisonous plant containing cardiac glycosides, so the larvae are poisonous. Although poisonous, these butterflies will not directly affect humans if not swallowed. Touching the larvae of certain tortoiseshell butterflies may cause a rash.

General Info

Species Status

It is found in South America, Central America, the West Indies, Mexico, south Texas and peninsular Florida. Adults sometimes migrate north to New Mexico, South Carolina, and Nebraska during the warmer months.

Distribution Area

South and Central America

Appearance

The caterpillars are white with black spots and have numerous black spikes along their body. Adult butterflies are monomorphic of medium size with long wings. On the dorsal side, the wings are black with narrow white and yellow stripes, with a similar pattern on the ventral side, but paler and with red spots. The wingspan ranges from 7 - 10 cm.

AdultSize

7 - 10 cm
Zebra longwing (Heliconius charithonia) Zebra longwing (Heliconius charithonia) Photo By arctic_mongoose , used under CC-BY-4.0 /Cropped and compressed from original
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