2017: Can We Call it the Year of the Zebra?

Zebra Heliconian butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Facebook was electrified with reports coming from all over Georgia (USA). Zebra Heliconian butterflies! She was born in Georgia, spent her whole life on her family’s land. Now she grows her own gardens. One day, a day in 2017; there she saw something she had not seen in 62 years!! A Zebra Heliconian butterfly, sleek, flying as if they were dancing in the ballet. She was speechless! It was an exhilarating experience, for that kind of unexpected visitor knocks the ho-hum doldrums out of the park!

Joy spread across the state. Everyone quickly boned up on Zebra Heliconians. They certainly arrived from very southern Georgia and Florida. Their hostplants are native passionflowers. They prefer to not venture too far from a nearby wooded edge.

Heliconius charithonia in Georgia again in 2018? A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America(Glassberg, Second Edition, Princeton Press) shares that they “may become established northward during warm weather, then killed off by freezes.”

This photograph was taken in the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia. It was the month of July 2017. You’re looking at Zebra Heliconian on a robust Tithonia(Mexican sunflower) flowerhead.

Just as nearly all of Georgia cheered for the UGA Bulldogs in the National Championship heartbreaker, surely finding Zebras here in 2018 will evoke countless Thank Y-u’s!!!

Jeff

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