9. Zebra Longwing Butterfly
Zebra longwing butterfly is the official butterfly of Florida of United States, declared in 1996. As it’s name implies the butterfly has low narrow wings with zebra like stripes. Their wings are in black color with yellow stripes. The top and bottom part of zebra longwing’s wings have same pattern. But the color of underpart of wing is much lighter than that of upper part. The fascinating butterflies are distributed throughout South and Central America. The wingspan of zebra longwing ranges between 72 and 100 mm.
Zebra longwings are the the only butterflies that like to feed on pollen. Scientists believed that nutrients from pollen help the zebra longwings to live longer (about six months) than that of other butterfly species.They also like to have leaves and nectar. Zebra longwings make creaking sound when they threatened. They stay together in group at night on tree branches.
Heliconius charithonia, the zebra longwing or zebra heliconian, is a species of butterfly belonging to the subfamily Heliconiinae of the family Nymphalidae. The boldly striped black and white wing pattern is aposematic, warning off predators.
The species is distributed across South and Central America and as far north as southern Texas and peninsular Florida; there are migrations north into other American states in the warmer months.
Zebra longwing adults roost communally at night in groups of up to 60 adults for safety from predators. The adult butterflies are unusual in feeding on pollen as well as on nectar; the pollen enables them to synthesize cyanogenic glycosides that make their bodies toxic to potential predators. Caterpillars feed on various species of passionflower, evading the plants’ defensive trichomes by biting them off or laying silk mats over them.