For more information and images on Butterflies, visit the Categories section below, in Florida Animals or Florida Everglades / Natural Areas — or in such posts as A Butterfly’s Kingdom, Arthur’s Butterflies, Nabokov’s “Butterfly of Doom,” Chasing Florida Flutterbys, and more.
On our hikes, we often stumble upon areas of flurried butterfly activity, due to Florida’s abundant all-year blooms. The most common encounter is the zebra longwing (Heliconius charitonius), designated as the official state butterfly of Florida in 1996. No wonder it’s the state butterfly; it’s found throughout Florida in hardwood hammocks, swamps, gardens, and in the Everglades.
It’s tempting to want to cheat and run to Butterfly World to nab some prime shots of our butterflies, but I prefer to rely on the natural environs. We’ve spied some lovelies — swallowtails, sulphurs, whites, milkweeds, and longwings — but sometimes, they don’t want to pose for the camera. Or if they do, they rest in unfortunate spots — I find myself plowing through beastly banana spider webs, or managing the swamp, to chase butterflies. More than once I’ve nearly tripped over large, scaly, and silent objects at the water’s edge — quite unlike a butterfly — in my efforts to photograph these lovelies…. Proof positive to always be aware of one’s surroundings when hiking near water in Florida, and to be fully respectful and knowledgeable of alligators’ behavior. This certainly isn’t the first close encounter with these interesting creatures in our years of Florida hiking, nor will it be the last.
For More Information:
- Riverbend Park
- Jonathan Dickinson State Park
- Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
- Fern Forest Nature Center
- National Park Service: Big Cypress National Preserve