Spend a moment in our Butterfly Rainforest with Ryan talking about the Zebra longwing butterfly, Heliconius charithonia, a Florida native and our state butterfly. This species lives in areas of the southern U.S., and south through Central America and into South America.

Zebra longwing butterflies are toxic and their markings warn predators not to eat them!


Hello. Welcome back to the Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History. My name is Ryan and today we’re going to stick a little closer to home here in Florida. Although we do display primarily tropical butterflies from all around the world – Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and Africa – we do display some butterflies native to North America and Florida specifically. And that includes this butterfly if I can get my hands on him…  [laughter] Going to spend most of this video watching me chase this butterfly around!

So this is the zebra longwing right… here we go… hence named because it does have these kind zebra stripes and very long, narrow wings which is characteristic of the group of butterflies it belongs to. Not only is this butterfly native to Florida, it is the official state butterfly of Florida. And it has very similar markings on both sides of its wings. If you recall from previous videos that means that that butterfly is in fact toxic so you don’t want to eat this butterfly any time soon.

Like other longwing butterflies, he can have a longer lifespan, but we’ll talk about that a little bit more when we talk about other longwing butterflies.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed a little snippet there and watched me chase around this little butterfly in the box. I hope you have a great rest of the day. Stay healthy. Take care.

Learn more about Zebra longwings

More Florida Wildflowers & Butterflies

About the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit

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Video by Ryan Fessenden; Produced by Radha Krueger