Gulf Fritillary or Passion Butterfly


Joined September 2008

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Artist's Description

If I think… what was the best thing what happened with me last year, then I remember my visit to Huntington Garden in LA. And when I saw this butterfly. Wow, I was so excited that shoot him more than hour.
This is Gulf Fritillary or Passion Butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) who is a striking, bright orange butterfly of the family Nymphalidae, subfamily Heliconiinae. These were formerly classified in a separate family, the Heliconiidae or longwing butterflies, and like other longwings this species does have long, rather narrow wings in comparison with other butterflies. It is not closely related to the true fritillaries. It is large butterfly, its underwings are buff, with large silvery spots. It takes its name from migrating flights of the butterflies sometimes seen over the Gulf of Mexico.
The spines are soft to the touch and do not sting. However, the larvae are poisonous if eaten, as the bright coloration advertises. The larvae feed exclusively on species of passion flower such as Maypop (Passiflora incarnata), Yellow Passionflower (P. lutea) and Running Pop (P. foetida).Their toxic flesh provides Gulf Fritillary caterpillars with excellent protection from predators. Many birds avoid them. Some specialized insects are observed feeding on them, however, and larger caterpillars sometimes eat smaller ones. Cultivation of passion flowers in gardens has enabled the Gulf Fritillary to extend its range, for example into new areas of southern and northern California.

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