The Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae

The Gulf Fritillary is widespread, occurring from south-central United States to southern South America. Adults have a fast flight, and can be found in pastures, forests, or urban gardens. They nectar from lantana, shepherd’s needle, coridas, and composites. At night, adults roost in groups in grass and leaves within 2 m of the ground.

The Gulf Fritillary is a medium sized with a wingspan of 6 – 10 cm. The dorsal wing surface is orange with black markings. Three silver spots rimmed with black appear on the upper forewings. The ventral surface is brown with striking silvery spots.

The caterpillars, which are orange with black spines covering their bodies, feed only on passion vine (Passifloraceae). Once formed, the chrysalis looks like a dead leaf.

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