Gulf Fritillary ~ Agraulis vanillae (Linnaeus, 1758)
Family: Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)
Subfamily: Longwings (Heliconiinae)
Identification: Upperside bright orange with black markings; 3 black-encircled white dots on forewing leading edge. Underside brown; forewing with orange at base; both wings with elongated, iridescent silver spots.
Life history: Males patrol for females, who lay eggs on many parts of the host plant. Caterpillars feed on most parts of the host. Adults overwinter in the south.
Flight: Throughout the year in south Florida and South Texas, January-November in the north. Number of broods has not been determined.
Wing span: 2 1/2 – 3 3/4 inches (6.3 – 9.5 cm).
Caterpillar hosts: Various species of passion-vine including maypops (Passiflora incarnata) and running pop (P. foetida).
Adult food: Nectar from lantana, shepherd\’s needle, cordias, composites, and others.
Habitat: Pastures, open fields, second-growth subtropical forest and edges, city gardens.
Range: South America north through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to the southern United States. Wanders north to the central United States; rare northward.
I love the Gulf Fritillary butterfly. Both sides of It’s wings are equally beautiful, yet a totally different look viewed with wings open or closed.
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