Florida Butterflies~Gulf Fritillary

16 Jan

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

The Heliconinae are “longwing butterflies”, which have long, narrow wings compared to other butterflies.
Gulf Fritillary butterflies are orange with black spots.  The underside of their wings are covered with orange scales with large patches of silver scales. In its adult form, the gulf fritillary is a medium-sized butterfly that has extended forewings and a wingspan range of 2.5 to 3.7 inches. Gulf Fritillary butterflies are found in the lower half of the United States.

Adult butterflies use Lantana and passionvine blossoms (Maypop) as their main nectar and food source whereas the Passiflora plants (passionvine) serve as the main resource for egg laying and foodplants for the larvae.
Eggs are laid singly on or off the plant. Eggs are yellow when freshly laid and turn a rusty color before they hatch.


Caterpillars are orange with black spikes. Sometimes they will have gray stripes down their sides. The spikes cannot harm anything.
Caterpillars molt (crawl out of their old cuticle/skin) four times before they  to pupate. Because a caterpillars’ cuticle doesn’t grow, it can only stretch to a certain point before it is essential for the caterpillar to shed/molt its old cuticle.
After molting, its new spikes are blond until they dry black. It is not unusual for a caterpillar to crawl off its host plant to molt. Adult butterflies emerge from the chrysalis, in the middle of the summer, about nine days after pupating.

Male and female only have slight differences in appearance. Females are larger than the males. Males have brighter orange colored wings than females. Females are usually darker in color and are more marked with black streak.

The general process for a typical courtship interaction begins when a male flies and lands near a perching female, who is most likely perched on a host plant. Once the male has landed, the male assumes a position next to the female with their heads together and with their bodies aligned at a 45-degree angle. At this time, the male engages in a specific action called the wing clap display in which the male continuously claps its wings open and closed. During this time, the antennae of the female are placed between the opening and closing wings. After the male ceases wing movement, the male butterfly will move into a  mating position. Butterflies and moths belong to the order Lepidoptera and all members have scales covering their bodies and wings. Color results from an interaction between light and matter.

Hey, thanks for visiting us butterflies. There are lot’s more butterflies I want you to enjoy, but next week I want to show you something a little different. Something you may have never noticed. SKIPPERS They are little half butterfly, half moth cuties. They are small and fly so fast they are a blur and hardly get noticed. But they are so adorable, I know you will like them. See ya next week.

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

2 Responses to “Florida Butterflies~Gulf Fritillary”

  1. divoran09 January 20, 2018 at 4:19 pm #

    How beautiful

    Like

  2. Onisha Ellis January 16, 2018 at 8:29 pm #

    Love, love the pictures and learning about the different butterflies.

    Like

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