Erato Longwing Butterfly
The longwing butterflies are of the species of the genus Heliconus and species Helicanus Erato, are like flying flowers. They more float around than flutter like many other butterflies. What I like is they're not twitchy when a photographer comes around.
Longwings are brightly patterned in patches and stripes of yellow, red, orange, white, and/or blue on a black background, and have narrow, elongated wings. Their slow, lazy, fluttering flight is designed to show off their bright colors, signaling to predators that they are bad-tasting and should be avoided. I, however, watched a bird swoop down and grab one, so maybe all the predators didn't get the memo....
These butterflies eat pollen in addition to nectar, and they sleep in groups at night, perching on thin, hanging twigs. That must be a fascinating and colorful sight. I saw them grouping together as if the best of friends having a fun time fluttering around.
I took this photo in the Key West Butterfly Conservatory in February 2018.
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