Heliconius charitonia

Zebra Longwing

Basic Information

General information

Family: “Nymphalidae”
Sub Family: “Heliconiinae”
Estimated Lifespan 30 Days

Garden Specific Information

Estimated Number In Flight: 13
Total Number of Pupae Received: 10176
First Flown On: 10/14/02
Last Flown On: 05/02/24

Species Range:

  • “NorthAmerica” “SouthAmerica”

Host plants:

  • Passiflora
  • Tetrastylis lobata

Food Source

Adults feed on a variety of flowers including Lantana, Hamelia and Stachytrapheta.

Etymology Of Name

The genus Heliconius is broken into two parts: Helico = helix and nous = reason and knowledge as opposed to sense perception. The origin of charitonia is currently unknown.


The Zebra Longwings are usually found in open woodlands or along the edge of tropical forest and they periodically take trips to open fields for nectar.

Life history

Males patrol their habitat for females. After mating the female lays her eggs in clusters on the host vine. Caterpillars feed on the host until they form their chrysalides.


There are multiple generations each year and since the adults are long lived it is possible to find adults year round.

Fun Facts

Each evening the Zebra Longwings participate in a communal roosting where hundreds of individuals gather together to spend the night in a large group. In 1996, the Zebra Longwing was named the state butterfly of Florida.