Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) butterflies lay their
eggs only on the passionflower as the plant contains toxins
that protect the butterflies from predators. The caterpillar
has black spines that stick out from its orange and black body.
The bright colors along with the sticky spines are also a warning
to predators. Their wingspan ranges from 2 ½ - 3¾
inches in size.
The Gulf Fritillary is a sub-tropical butterfly and does not
have a time where all activity stops during its growing period.
It slows down when the temperature lowers and speeds up when
it gets warmer regardless of which stage it is in. For instance:
an egg may hatch within three days in the heat of summer and
it may take several months for the adult to develop in the chrysalis
in the winter. These beautiful butterflies cannot survive any
stage of growth in cold temperatures
In the United States they can be found from east to west and
in southern to central areas, but are rarely found in the north.