Gulf Fritillaries can be seen in flight all year in south Florida and all except December northward. The range of Agraulis vanillae is from South America north through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to the southern United States, occassionally wandering into the central United States.
The adult butterfly is mostly brownish-orange with black markings on the upperside. There are three white spots surrounded by black near the leading edge of the forewing from about the midpoint towards the base. The undersides of the wings are lighter, with the hindwings and tips of the forewings covered with silvery spots. Females are larger and paler than the males.
The caterpillar is orange with rows of black spines. Caterpillar hosts are various species of passion vine including Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower), P. foetida (running pop) and Passiflora suberosa (corkystem passionflower). These butterflies feed on the nectar from lantana, sheperd's needle, cordias, composites and others such as Godfrey's blazing star, as in several of the images shown here.
Gulf fritillary butterflies and their life cycle is the subject of the January 2018 Paul Rebmann Nature Photography blog.
A freshly emerged butterfly 'unrolling and zipping' its proboscis.
Agraulis vanillae is a member of the Nymphalidae - Brush-footed butterflies family.
For more information on this species, visit the following link:
Bugguide.net page for this species
Date record last modified: Nov 01, 2020