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Butterflies of North America

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
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Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae [Linnaeus])

Wing span: 2 1/2 - 3 3/4 inches (6.3 - 9.5 cm).

Identification: Upperside bright orange with black markings; 3 black-encircled white dots on forewing leading edge. Underside brown; forewing with orange at base; both wings with elongated, iridescent silver spots.

Life history: Males patrol for females, who lay eggs on many parts of the host plant. Caterpillars feed on most parts of the host. Adults overwinter in the south.

Flight: Throughout the year in south Florida and South Texas, January-November in the north. Number of broods has not been determined.

Caterpillar hosts: Various species of passion-vine including maypops (Passiflora incarnata) and running pop (P. foetida).

Adult food: Nectar from lantana, shepherd's needle, cordias, composites, and others.

Habitat: Pastures, open fields, second-growth subtropical forest and edges, city gardens.

Range: 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.

Conservation: Not usually of concern.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Management needs: Cultivate host plants.

References:


Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns 

     Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates.



Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson 

     field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates.



Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, 

     Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
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