The zebra longwing (Heliconius charitonius) is commonly spotted in south Florida, especially in the hammocks and thickets of Everglades National Park. The longwing however, is not so common in northern part of the state. The zebra longwing roosts in a flock with its kin. The longwing sleeps so soundly that you can literally pick it off its roost and return it later, without waking any of the rest of its family. The longwing is so comfortable with its perch, it also faithfully returns to the same perch every night. During the day her flight is slow, feeble, and wafting, but she can quickly dart to shelter if threatened or approached. This black and yellow butterfly has been a loved native of Florida and is known for dining on the sweet nectar of passion flowers. This beauty was officially designated as the State Butterfly in 1996. It has been a long crawl for the insect kingdom to receive an honorary position in Florida, with the praying mantis having lost as the last bid for state insect in 1972.
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