Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian

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Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian

Freshly emerged adult

Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian egg

Egg with parasitic Trichogramma wasp laying eggs

Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian larva

Final instar larva

Description: This is Florida's State butterfly. It is perhaps the most easily recognizable species in Florida due to its frequent appearance in back yards accross the state. Its unique pattern of black wings with yellow stripes and elongate forewings makes it very easy to identify. 

 

Habitat and Distribution: Abundant in Florida and through Central and South America. The Zebra can be common in the Northern Keys but is less common in the Lower Keys. It inhabits weedy fields, hammocks and forests where passion vines grow.

 

Host Plant: Passion Flowers (Passiflora sps.)

 

Natural History: The Zebra butterfly flies slow and lazy and is easily observable in gardens and in its natural habitat. In the late afternoons, this species can be found roosting together in large numbers for the evening and individuals have been known to return to the same roosting sight night after night. Males are attracted to the Chrysalis of the female in the days prior to her emergence. Males will congregate around the chrysalis waiting for her to emerge. We have seen up to a dozen males waiting on one Chrysalis. 

 

Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian larva

Final instar larva

Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian pupa

Chrysalis

Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian

cluster of males waiting for female to emerge

Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian

cluster of males waiting for female to emerge

Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian abarant

Abarant Adult Female

Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian abarant

Abarant Adult Female

Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian pupa parasites
Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian

Freshly emerged adult

Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian egg parasite

Trichogramma wasp ovipositing in a zebra egg

Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian egg

zebra egg with Trichogramma parisites

Heliconius charithonia tuckeri, Zebra Heliconian larva eaten by spider

Spider eating 1st instar larva

 

Chrysalis with parasitic barachinid wasp pupae inside

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