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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly


Gulf Fritillary Butterfly, originally uploaded by Elizabeth Smith.

I’ve read that in the winter months, Gulf Fritillaries migrate from southern US states into the south Florida peninsula. Maybe that’s why I’m seeing so many of these brightly colored and patterned butterflies lately. Or perhaps it’s the new growth of Passiflora species I see popping up throughout my yard. Gulf Fritillaries use Passiflora as a larval food as well as a nectar source, and I often see the butterflies and caterpillars near this plant.

My model for these studies was found on the ground, possibly a victim of one of our recent freezing temperature dips. I was sad to find it dead, but happy to be able to observe it closely and sketch it from different angles. If you’d like to see an earlier journal entry showing the Passiflora leaves, and the Gulf Fritillary caterpillar and chrysalis, please click here.

To read more, see beautiful photos, and learn some interesting facts about the Gulf Fritillary butterfly, please visit these links:

University of Florida IFAS

Tree of Life

Butterfly Fun Facts

Wikipedia

You can also click on the caption under the image to view it on my Flickr photostream.  A very happy New Year to my online friends!