Spend a moment in our Butterfly Rainforest with Ryan talking about the Golden longwing butterfly, Heliconius hecale, from Mexico and into South America. Like other longwing species, they can outlive many butterflies because they eat nutrient-rich pollen that provides more nourishment than a flower’s nectar.

Golden longwings have previously been called tiger longwings, but that common name can also be used for the species Heliconius ismenius, so we use a less confusing common name here in the exhibit.


Hello. Welcome to the Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

My name is Ryan and today we’ll be releasing another longwing butterfly. This one also has multiple names. Over the course of the Butterfly Rainforest’s history we referred to it as a tiger longwing and the hecale longwing.

Nowadays it’s referred to as the golden longwing. Its scientific name is Heliconius hecale. Now the reason why it’s no longer called a tiger longwing is because that goes to another butterfly named tiger longwing. That’s the Heliconious isminius. And hecale tends to be on the trickier side, even though it is part of its scientific name.

As with other longwing butterflies, it does have the ability to live much longer, upwards of six or seven months if it ingests pollen along with nectar. And he is also involved in a mimicry complex. We have two other species of butterflies that look very, very similar: the cream-spotted tigerwing and the Isabella’s longwing. I hope you look forward to seeing more butterflies and more longwing butterflies.

Hope you’ve all enjoyed. And have a great rest of your day. Thank you.

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Video by Ryan Fessenden; Produced by Radha Krueger