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Passion butterfly caterpillars (1st instars)

Agraulis vanillae


These caterpillars probably hatched a few days ago, and were feeding on Passiflora caerulea. Sadly these caterpillars have a low mortality rate in the wild, due to paper wasps, and never due to parasitoid wasp interestingly enough. There were about ten 1st instar caterpillars on the whole vine, and each caterpillar was about one centimeter in length. You can bring these into your garden by planting passion vine, only in the range these butterflies live in.


In my garden Fort worth, Texas. Suburban habitat


Agraulis vanillae is most commonly found in the southern areas of the United States, specifically in many regions of Florida and Texas. Gulf fritillaries have a chemical defense mechanism in which they release odorous chemicals in response to predator sightings. As a result, common predators learn to avoid this species. As an adult the gulf fritillary is a medium-sized butterfly that has extended forewings and a wingspan range of 6.5 to 9.5 cm. Gulf fritillaries feed mainly on plants in the family passiflora (passion vine), but mostly feed on Passiflora lutea and Passiflora affinis. One thing I noticed, is that they love Passiflora caerulea, which grows amazing in Texas.

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Spotted on May 13, 2020
Submitted on May 14, 2020

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