Friday, August 7, 2009

Gulf Fritillary caterpillar and passionvine

Gulf fritillary and passionvine

In my yard there are numerous volunteer native passionvines, hiding themselves in shrubs and surreptitiously climbing trees. They aren’t very large; the leaves are maybe 3 inches (7.6 cm) wide if pressed flat. I think this is one of the corky-stemmed passionvines, Passiflora suberosa (the older part of the stem bases become woody, but with a cork-like appearance and texture). The flower is a nondescript pale yellow to green miniature version of the showy purple or red passion flower with which most people are familiar. No blooms now, but there are plenty of tattered and bite-ridden leaves.

The guilty party is the caterpillar of one of our beautiful longwing butterflies, the Gulf Fritillary. I found this striking caterpillar toward the end of his larval stage. He was about 1 ¼ inch long (3.2 cm), and created a chrysalis that is about 1 inch (2.5 cm). You can read more about the Gulf Fritillary here:

I hope that I’ll be able to sketch him when he emerges.

Click on the image to access larger sizes on my Flickr page.

~ Elizabeth Smith
Naples, FL, USA


  1. Great job! I'm sure you'll get to sketch him Liz. Love your postings.

  2. This is great. We don't get the Gulf Fritillary here. Usually we have the Great Sangled Fritillary.

  3. A great page and what fearsome spines.
    I wonder how long the wait until the butterfly emerges?


We'd love to hear from you, your questions, comments, observations! Please feel free to comment, feedback is important to us.