Florida Fauna & Flora – Zebra Butterfly

Florida Fauna & Flora – Zebra Butterfly


Florida Fauna & Flora – Zebra Butterfly


The zebra butterfly, formerly known as the zebra longwing butterfly, became Florida’s state insect in 1996. It is typically 3 to 4 inches in length with long wings that are black with thin yellow bands or stripes.


Zebra butterflies are found in Everglades National Park and throughout Florida. Its habitats include thickets, hardwood forests, hammocks and gardens. Most adult butterflies rely on flower nectar for food. They sip the liquid nectar using their proboscis that looks like a long, coiled straw.


Butterflies’ life cycle has four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and adult. Female butterflies lay eggs on or near a larval host plant, and within days the eggs hatch, and the larvae begin to feed on the plant. Its appetite is voracious, and it grows and sheds its skin often. The fully grown larva seeks shelter and attaches with silk under a leaf or twig. It then molts into a winged pupa before becoming an adult.


Fun Fauna Fact: Over 180 butterfly species live in Florida with 40 unique to the state. Florida’s butterfly species diversity is higher than any state east of the Mississippi River.


Source: University of Florida IFAS Extension


Read the full February 2022 SECO News online.


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