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S.W. Florida Daily News


Zebra Longwing Butterfly Population Boosted by Cape Coral Wildlife Organization’s Efforts

nbc2 zebra longwing butterfly.png
nbc2 zebra longwing butterfly.png

Cape Coral Wildlife Organization: Saving the Zebra Longwing Butterfly Population

Birds and bees may be the most common pollinators, but butterflies are equally crucial in the pollination process. They not only add aesthetic value to the environment, but they also help ensure the production of fruits, seeds, and other vital plant products. Unfortunately, many butterfly species, including the zebra longwing, are facing severe threats leading to their population decline. In Southwest Florida, Cape Coral Wildlife Organization (CCWO) has made it their prime goal to promote and preserve the local wildlife. Their current focus is to increase the zebra longwing butterfly population significantly. In this article, we will take a closer look at how CCWO is working to save the zebra longwing butterfly population.

The Zebra Longwing Butterfly

The zebra longwing butterfly (Heliconius charithonia) is a unique and distinct-looking butterfly species. It gets its name from the long, narrow wings that have black stripes similar to a zebra’s pattern. They are medium-sized and usually have a wingspan of two to three inches. Zebra longwings are primarily found in tropical and subtropical regions, including southern Florida, Central, and South America.

One of the most exceptional characteristics of the zebra longwing butterfly is its ability to feed on different flower species’ nectar and pollen. This broad diet helps them survive in their natural habitat that may experience changes in vegetation throughout the year. Zebra longwing butterflies play an enormous role in ecosystems as pollinators, enhancing the growth and diversity of vegetation.

Why is the Zebra Longwing Butterfly Population Declining?

Like most wildlife, the zebra longwing butterfly population faces various threats that impact their growth and survival. Habitat loss and fragmentation, urbanization, pesticide usage in residential and agricultural areas, and climate change are the primary contributing factors that have led to their decline in numbers.

The increase in urbanization has resulted in the loss and fragmentation of their natural habitat, thereby restricting their food sources and breeding locations. This loss has led to a steady decline in their population. Additionally, the utilization of harmful pesticides on plants adjacent to their habitat can contaminate or kill the zebra longwing butterflies and decrease their survival rates. Climate change has adverse impacts on the mother butterflies as it affects the survival rate of their offspring by reducing the success of egg hatching and water loss.

CCWO’s Mission to Increase Zebra Longwing Butterfly Population

CCWO is a nonprofit organization that focuses on promoting and preserving the local wildlife in Southwest Florida, including the zebra longwing butterfly. CCWO aims to increase the zebra longwing population by propagating butterfly-friendly plants throughout the region. By providing abundant, accessible food sources, the butterfly larvae will have a better chance of surviving and metamorphosing into butterflies. CCWO has also established a butterfly-friendly garden that provides the perfect environment for the butterflies to survive, mate, and lay eggs.

The organization’s founding principles are education, conservation, and enjoyment. CCWO believes that educating the community on the importance of preserving and protecting the natural habitats of wildlife, especially the zebra longwing butterflies, is a fundamental way to promote conservation. CCWO collaborates with schools, libraries, and other organizations to introduce educational programs that introduce the community to the different butterfly species and their crucial role in the ecosystem and human lives.

The Importance of CCWO’s Work

The work done by CCWO is crucial to the survival of the zebra longwing butterfly population in Southwest Florida. By propagating butterfly-friendly plants, CCWO is diversifying the food sources available to the butterfly larvae. With abundant food, more caterpillars will feed, and thus there will be a higher number of metamorphosed butterflies. CCWO’s establishment of a butterfly-friendly habitat will provide a safe space for breeding and nesting, promoting the growth of the population.

Moreover, with their emphasis on education, CCWO successfully spreads awareness of the importance of preserving local wildlife. These educational programs provide the necessary information for community members to take an active role in the protection of their natural environment. With increased awareness, people are more likely to make changes to their lifestyles and daily habits that promote the preservation of the environment.


Butterflies, especially the zebra longwing, play a critical role in pollination and the maintenance of ecosystems. Unfortunately, the population of these butterflies has been on the decline due to various threats, including urbanization, pesticide usage, and climate change. The Cape Coral Wildlife Organization, a nonprofit organization, is working tirelessly to increase the zebra longwing population by propagating butterfly-friendly plants and establishing a butterfly-friendly habitat.

Moreover, their commitment to education is essential in spreading awareness on the importance of preserving local wildlife and natural habitats. The work done by CCWO is crucial to the survival of the zebra longwing butterfly population in Southwest Florida, highlighting the necessity of preserving local wildlife and their habitats. It is essential to recognize that small actions can go a long way in preserving important species that maintain and harmonize ecosystems.


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