Kyle D. Sweet, Superintendent, The Sanctuary Golf Club, Florida Master Naturalist
Since 1996, the Zebra Longwing Butterfly has been classified as the state butterfly of Florida. It’s easily identified by it’s long, narrow wings that are black with light yellow zebra-like stripes. It flourishes in damp, tropical areas and is typically found in hammocks and thickets. Due to this habitat preference, south Florida is the most common area in the state to find this butterfly. The passion vine / passion flower is the host plant to the Zebra Longwing. The host plant is the plant that the larvae (caterpillar) feeds on. The larvae of the Zebra Longwing have white bodies and long black spines and a yellow head. Several larvae will hatch from eggs laid on the underside of a leaf and these veracious caterpillars will continuously eat, grow quickly and if conditions are right can go from egg to butterfly in just a little over three weeks.
The Zebra Longwing can be seen all around the islands. Native passion vine is throughout the island, providing the needed host plant for generation after generation of this butterfly.