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    Zebra Longwing - Magnet Wing
Butterfly
5.85" x 2.10" wings
06196ZBM

Price: $5.95
 
   Fascinating Science Facts:

Heliconius Charitonius, South Texas and Southern Florida

The Zebra Longwing butterfly was declared the Florida State Butterfly on April 26, 1996, by Chiles Florida's Governor. The butterfly in known to inhabit Florida's southern Peninsula and South Texas year round and occasionally migrates to New Mexico and South Carolina. The Zebra Longwing species is also know to inhabit the West Indies and Latin America. The seemingly fragile distinguishing features of long and narrow wings stripes in black and yellow make it hard to tell if the butterfly is coming or going. The wing span of the Zebra Longwing reaches close to 3 inches making for a light and wispy fluttering. Their flight pattern is slow and they are not easily startled making the Zebra easy to follow and observe! They are found mainly in moist tropical hammocks, damp forests and open fields, but are most commonly spotted by human eyes under canopy edges. These magnificent butterflies feed primarily on Passion flower nectar and have a strong appetite for such plants as the Lantana and the Shepard's needle. They are the only butterfly species that are known to also feed on pollen, like bees, which accounts for their lengthy life span.

Reproduction of the Zebra Longwing is initiated by the male who searches for females in order to mate. After mating takes place, the male will expel a chemical onto the female that repels other males in the roost. On average, groups of 5-15 eggs, the size of a pin head, are laid on the leafs of host plants such as the Passion vine. The larva matures into caterpillars nourished by eating the leaves of a host plant and during this stage the caterpillar eats continuously. The Zebra Longwing caterpillar has a pale yellow head and a long white body with pointed black spines on each body segment. As the caterpillar grows, it molts and sheds its exoskeleton after it reaches the right size after the caterpillar hangs upside down by a silken string from a branch until its internal structure changes. Within approximately 10-14 days an adult Zebra Longwing butterfly emerges and continues to hang upside down to pump blood into it's newly formed wings in order to give expand them and then as soon as the wings are dry, the Zebra will fly away.

Zebra butterflies are said to be the most intelligent butterflies and they have a structured social life. They are communal roosters, which means that when nightfall comes, the Zebra Longwing will roost in groups of 30 or more and will also return to the same location each and every night. The oldest butterflies have first choice of sleeping perches. At dawn, the oldest butterflies are also the first butterflies to awake, which then wakes the others by gently touching them. Adult butterflies (Zebra) are long-lived and can survive up to 6 months with adequate nutrition. Zebra Longwing butterflies will die off in the winter months due to the freezing temperatures and recolonize by mid-summer when the climate is warmer.

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