Julia Longwing Butterfly (Dryas iulia)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Julia Longwing Butterfly.
Updated: 2/3/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Alligator tears are a welcome sight to the Julia Longwing Butterfly, a Brazilian transplant that thrives in the heat.
The Julia Longwing Butterfly is a member of the diverse Brush-footed Butterfly family. This means it is related to the Monarch, Viceroy, Malachite, the Fritillary subfamily, Painted Lady and Common Buckeye butterflies. The front pair of legs of these butterflies are very short and almost so difficult to see, people only count 4 legs. In addition to their diminutive length, the front pair of legs are also covered in short bristles, or hairs, like a hair brush.
The adult feeds on the nectar of flowers in meadows such as the multicolored orange and pink lantana flower and Shepherd's needle. They are also known to land on caimans (small alligator-like animals) and deliberately irritate their eyes with the proboscis so the caiman produces tears. The butterflies then drink the tears!
This butterfly is fast, not clumsy in flight. It is native to Brazil, but has made a home in Florida and Texas, even venturing as far north as Nebraska. They are capable of producing up to three generations in one year.