by Sharon LaPlante
The Gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) is a fast flier, generally staying close to the ground in search of nectar sources.
It is red-orange above with a few black spots. The underside is similar, but with a coral - pink base and metallic silver teardrops.
Some of their preferred nectar plants are spanish needle (Bidens pilosa), red salvia (Salvia coccinea), blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis), golden dewdrop (Duranta repens) & firebush (Hamelia patens)
Their larval food Passiflora incarnata, Passiflora lutea, and Passiflora suberosa.
The eggs oblong, ribbed, and yellow. Laid singly on new growth.
The larva rust colored with branching, black spines, which are stingless.
The chrysalis is mottled brown and warty, resembling a dried leaf.
Ajilvsgi, Geyata. Butterfly Gardening for the South. Taylor Publishing: Dallas, TX. 1990
Emmel, Thomas. Florida's Fabulous Butterflies. World Publications: Tampa, FL. 1997
Huegel, Craig. Butterfly Gardening with Florida's Native Plants. Florida Native Plant Society: Orlando, FL. 1992
The Audubon Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Knopf: New York, NY. 1992
Wright, Amy Bartlett. Peterson First Guide to Caterpillars of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co.: New York, NY. 1990
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