Gulf Fritillaries Are Back!

I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Gulf Fritillary Agraulis vanillae incarnata aka as the Passion Butterfly this year. Although it is called a Fritillary, its not closely related to true fritillaries. The range of this butterfly extends from Argentina to the coast of San Francisco. Passion vine is their host plant to lay eggs on and then the caterpillars eat the leaves of the plant. Its a good thing that passion vine is vigorous because some years the Gulf Fritillary caterpillar has eaten in to the ground.

Caterpillar on Passion Vine

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons taken by Jonathan Zander
As long as the food holds out here, we should see the Gulf Fritillary around for most of the summer here. There will be evidence its life cycle from eggs, caterpillars on passion vine, chrysalis up and down my wood fence to the butterflies flitting around everywhere.  A true treat for summertime gardening here.

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