An unusual feature of the Heliconian butterflies is that because of their diets, they can continue to live and lay eggs for several months, unlike most butterflies who have a life expectancy of only a few weeks.
The reason for this is that most butterflies can only sip fluids with their specalized mouths. Heliconians take pollen as well as nectar, because their saliva enables them to dissolve the pollen and thus reap its benefits; (i.e. - Pollen is very nutritious and high in protein, which helps the Heliconians to prolong their lives, and continue producing eggs for several months.) As a result, Heliconians are more dependent on flowers than other types of butterflies, which makes them good pollinators.
Avg. Wingspan: 72 - 100 mm / 3 - 4 "
Diet: adults feed on nectar and pollen. (Longwings are the only butterflies known to consume pollen, which is probably why they have a long lifespan (about six months, as compared to a more usual one month for other butterfly species)
*There are about 71 Longwing species worldwide.
Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta, Order: Lepidoptera