ZEBRA HELICONIUS BEATING WINGS (2007)

It is astounding how little the ordinary person notices butterflies.Nabokov

Is this adult Zebra drying wings, activating pheromones, signaling for mates, or all of the above? Not sure, but I love to watch them in my yard in Jupiter, FL.

At any time of day, dozens of these Zebra Longwings are luxuriously fluttering around the yard in Jupiter near their favorite spots. Zebras are considered to be brainy butterflies; Heliconius being the only known butterfly species to eat pollen. They live 4 to 6 months and forage along the same route every day, as if following a trap-line.

Their caterpillars feed on Passion Vine

Passiflora
Zebra Heliconius Cats eating Milkweed
Milkweed Bloom

and Milkweed Plants that produce a cyanide from which the Zebras derive their nasty taste–a neat trick to keep the birds from snacking on them–hence their leisurely flight.

Nervous Clouded Sulphurs must fly erratic, streaking straight up and criss-crossing the sky in a yellow blur to avoid being lunch for a Scrub Jay, but Zebras sip their nectar and nibble on pollen like lazy tourists nursing a daiquiri.

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