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  • Gulf Fritillary Butterfly - (Agraulis vanilliae)

    Gulf Fritillary Butterfly - (Agraulis vanilliae)

    The commonly seen Gulf Fritillary Butterfly is colorful, fast and a regional favorite in the warm, humid southern U.S..

    Staff Writer (1/24/2014): This tropical butterfly has short hairs on its front legs, making it part of the 'brush-footed' butterfly family. They are fast flyers and usually stay at altitudes that are above human reach. In the warm climates that it lives in, many broods (generations) are likely to rise in one year and the butterflies are most active from spring to late autumn.

    The caterpillar is reddish-brown with orange-brown stripes. It has two horns at the head and rows of sharp, black spines. It is not a caterpillar that lends itself to touching or handling. In addition to its foreboding appearance, the caterpillars, as well as the butterflies, are poisonous. The larvae feed on passion flower vines which contain a toxic chemical that stays in the body, rendering it lethal to anything that tries to eat it.

    Sometimes, swarms of Gulf Fritillary Butterflies leave Latin America and fly into southern Texas and Florida, but this species is also a native to its U.S. range.

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    Details of the:
    Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
    Scientific Name: Agraulis vanilliae
    Other Names: Longwing Butterfly

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Nymphalidae
           Genus: Agraulis
            Species: vanilliae

    Size (Adult, Length): 65mm to 80mm (2.56in to 3.15in)

    Identifying Colors: orange; white; black; brown; silver

    Additional Descriptors: speckled, antennae, hairy

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.