Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gulf fritillary butterflies

I've always enjoyed the late summer rush of fritillaries.  We have Gulf as well as Variegated Fritillaries and probably others that I haven't noticed; Gulf Fritillary adults visit a variety of nectar plants, but their caterpillars specialize on passion vines (in our area, the native Passiflora incarnata or Maypops).

The bright orange caterpillars are fun to watch, and the adults are a striking orange, with silvery undersides.

Gulf Fritillary chrysalis
A sharp-eyed third grader spotted this chrysalis hanging from an Opuntia pad, near one of the passion vines in the Children's Garden.  Way cool!  Gulf Fritillaries are one of the few butterflies that migrate;  they move south as adults towards frost-free areas in fall, and recolonize north with successive broods in late spring and early summer.

1 comment:

  1. It has really been a year for butterflies, hasn't it?! I have seen so many varieties that I've never noticed before; not sure if I'm just taking a closer look this year, or if it's due to having more native plants, or just because there really are more of them. Whatever the reason, I've been loving it too!

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