Zebra Longwing: The Friendliest Butterfly Around

Courtney Quigley —  July 19, 2013 — Leave a comment

A longtime favorite of staff and visitors alike, the zebra longwing (Heliconius charitonius) is our featured butterfly this week. This graceful Lepidoptera is native from South America to South Texas and Florida, and occasionally an immigrant can be found as far north as Nebraska! The zebra longwing is the state butterfly of Florida.

One very interesting thing about these beauties is that they roost communally in groups of 25-30 butterflies. In our exhibit they tend to use the same branch night after night and can be seen in the morning all resting together. These friendly butterflies even eat together, bask together (open their wings to gain warmth from the sun), and take flying trips together around the house.

The zebra longwing is extremely calm and easy to approach, so it’s a super fun addition to our butterfly family. You’re sure to see some on your next visit to Butterflies & Blooms.

PHOTO: Zebra longwings rest together

Zebra longwings resting together on their favorite branch.

PHOTO: Zebra longwings basking

A trio of zebra longwings basking together in the sun.


©2013 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Courtney Quigley

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Horticulturist Courtney Quigley can be found in the Butterflies & Blooms exhibition, where she curates the species featured; mounts and tends the chrysalises, cocoons, and hatching butterflies and moths; and generally deals with all things Lepidoptera.

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