Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. A zebra butterfly may take as little as 21 days to go from an egg to an adult butterfly. As a result, zebra butterflies can produce several generations per year. These butterflies are members of a largely tropical group and are intolerant of cold weather. Their numbers are greatest in South Florida, but as the season progresses, some individuals make their way northward. Adults feed on nectar and pollen of many plants, but they need passion flower as a site to lay their eggs. Caterpillars of zebra butterflies feed only on passion flower leaves. Florida has several native passion flowers, all of which attract the zebra butterfly, but some of which are in trouble as a result of habitat losses and small distributions. The white-flowered passion vine is a Florida endangered species found only in the Florida Keys where it grows in rockland hammock, 90% of which has been destroyed by development. The pale passion flower, a high-climbing white-flowered vine, is found in about twelve localities in South Florida. It is also native to rockland hammocks and a Florida endangered species that is suffering from habitat destruction and competition with exotic plants.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.