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Monday, October 1, 2007

So Cute

Butterflies are beautiful, flying insects with large scaly wings. Like all insects, they have six jointed legs, 3 body parts, a pair of antennae, compound eyes, and an exoskeleton. The three body parts are the head, thorax (the chest), and abdomen (the tail end).

The butterfly's body is covered by tiny sensory hairs. The four wings and the six legs of the butterfly are attached to the thorax. The thorax contains the muscles that make the legs and wings

Zebra Longwing Heliconius

The Zebra Longwing Heliconius charithonia, (also known as the Zebra Heliconian) is a species of butterfly belonging to the subfamily Heliconiinae of the Nymphalidae. It was declared the official butterfly of Florida (U.S.A.) in 1996.

The butterfly ranges over parts of North, Central and South America as well as the West Indies.

In North America the butterfly is found in the southern parts of the United States including Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina.

In South and Central America, it has been recorded in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

The caterpillar feeds on Passiflora lutea, (yellow passionflower), Passiflora suberosa (corky stemmed passionvine), and Passiflora biflora (two-flower). The adults are unusual among butterflies in that they eat pollen as well as sipping nectar. This ability contributes to their longevity -- 3 months as an adult. Another unusual feature is that adults roost in groups of up to 70, and return to the same roost each evening.

Footnote In some publications the butterfly is referred to as Heliconius charitonius but this appears to be a mis-spelling of the original name given by Linnaeus - charithonia, hence not listed as a synonym.

Butterflies Collection