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Florida Guide > Other Florida

BUTTERFLIES - The Gulf Fritillary

Gulf fritillaries are one of four butterflies found in Florida. It is a very common garden butterfly I have often seen several of these delightful butterflies floating around the garden at my villa their habitat also includes old fields, disturbed sites, roadsides, gardens, parks, pastures.

They belong to the family of Brush Footed Butterflies and a sub-family called Longwings.

To identify these butterflies you must look for :- Upperside bright orange with black markings; 3 black-encircled white dots on forewing leading edge. Underside brown; forewing with orange at base; both wings with elongated, iridescent silver spots. Medium-sized (2. 5-3. 0" ) these bright orange butterflies are easy to spot in fields and gardens and along forest edges

They fly rapidly, mostly within a few feet of the ground, fluttering along a fairly straight course. Gulf fritillaries roost near the ground, sometimes in groups.

Adult Gulf fritillaries prefer the nectar of red and white flowers, such as Spanish needles and Lantana , cordias, composites, and others. Some males sip mud.

They have been seen flying far from land over the Gulf of Mexico, hence the name

They range throughout the southern U. S. and migrate northward during warmer months. .

Hostplants are Passiflora vines. ( Passion Flower)

Males patrol for females, who lay eggs on many parts of the host plant.

The ribbed yellow eggs are usually laid singly. They become mottled with brown before hatching. Larvae are dark gray with lighter dots and reddish stripes, with two curved spines on the head and six rows of black branching spines along the body. Caterpillars feed on most parts of the host. The chrysalis, about an inch long, is curved and resembles a dried leaf

Adults overwinter in the south.

Florida Museum of Natural History has :-

Butterfly Rainforest

This addition to the Florida Museum is dedicated to research and education about butterflies, moths and global biodiversity. The Butterfly Rainforest is a four-story, outdoor screened enclosure with waterfalls, a walking trail, lush subtropical and tropical plants and hundreds of live butterflies

http://www. flmnh. ufl. edu/

Come face-to-face with hundreds of exotic, vibrant butterflies fluttering atop a lush tropical canvas of foliage and flowers as you experience the Butterfly Rainforest, the Florida Museum’ s newest permanent exhibit. The Rainforest houses subtropical and tropical plants and trees, including nectar flowers to support many different species of Lepidoptera. Guests can stroll along the winding path and relax to the sounds of cascading waterfalls year-round.

Visitors will have the opportunity to view live butterfly releases Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p. m. , 3 p. m. and 4 p. m. , weather permitting.

There is an additional admission charge to the Butterfly Rainforest.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 8 December 2008
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