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Photographer's Note


Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

The wingspan is on average 2.75 to 3.75". The upper side of the Gulf Fritillary is rich orange in the male and a dull brown in the female. The female is a little larger. These butterflies are beautifully patterned on the under side. They have shiny silver spots across the wings and a rich rose patch at the base of the forewing.

They cannot survive freezing temperatures at any stage in its life. The caterpillar is orange with four rows of black spines along its body, which are harmless to humans. The eggs of the Gulf Fritillary are oblong, ribbed, and yellow. The caterpillar is about 38mm or 1.5" and the chrysalis, which looks like a dried-up leaf, is 28mm or 11/8".

Their geographic distribution ranges from, "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. The habitats they prefer are subtropical forest edges, fallow agricultural lands, roadsides, open/sunny areas, and canyons.

The larvae of the Gulf Fritillary feed on plants such as maypop (Passiflora incarnata), blue passionflower (P. caerulea), and corky-stemmed passionflower (P. suberosa) all of which are passionflower vines. The adult tends to feed on Tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis), pentas (Pentas lanceolata), tread softly (Cnidosculous stimulosus), drummond phlox (Phlox drummondii), and lantana (Lantana camara).

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Additional Photos by Ricardo A Palonsky (RAP) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 350 W: 78 N: 378] (1053)
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