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This is a brilliantly colored, and flashy butterfly “The Gulf Fritillary” or “The Passion Butterfly” absolutely stunning is a word that comes to mind.. Below you’ll find a little info on this very pretty thing. Enjoy
(Boisduval & Le Conte, 1835)
Species: A. vanillae
The Gulf Fritillary or Passion Butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) is a bright orange butterfly of the family Nymphalidae and subfamily Heliconiinae. It was 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 the only member of genus Agraulis.
The Gulf Fritillary is a medium to large butterfly, with a wingspan of 6–9.5 cm (2.4–3.7 in). Its underwings are buff, with large silvery spots. It takes its common name from its migration over the Gulf of Mexico.
The Gulf Fritillary is commonly seen in parks and gardens, as well as in open country. Its range extends from Argentina north through Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean to the southern United States, as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area on the west coast. It is occasional farther north.
The larva is a caterpillar which grows to approximately 4 cm (1.6 in) in length. It is bright orange in color and covered in rows of black spines. The spines are soft to the touch and do not sting, but the larva is poisonous if eaten. The larva feeds exclusively on species of passionflower, such as maypop (Passiflora incarnata), yellow passionflower (P. lutea), and running pop (P. foetida).
The toxicity of the caterpillar protects it from predators. Many birds avoid it. Some specialized insects have been observed feeding on it, however, and larger caterpillars sometimes eat smaller ones. This species belongs to the "orange" Batesian mimicry complex.
The chrysalis is approximately 3 cm (1.2 in) long. It is mottled brown and looks like a dry leaf.
The cultivation of passionflowers has enabled the Gulf Fritillary to extend its range, into California, for example.
August 11th, 2013
Viewed 59 Times - Last Visitor from Beverly Hills, CA on 12/09/2013 at 3:08 PM