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Development of the spectacular
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) Butterfly

by Craig Presnell, Florida USA - Click images to enlarge

The host

Many water gardeners grow plants around the pond to attract butterflies. Here is a sequence of photos that shows the development, from egg to butterfly, of the spectacular Gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae).

Also called the passion butterfly, its favorite food is the passion flower vine, Passiflora sp. Eating Passiflora makes them unpalatable to predators, hence the warning (aposematic) coloration of the butterfly. Aposematism is a secondary defense mechanism that warns potential predators of the existence of another primary defensive mechanism. “Leave me alone. I’m beautiful but I taste bad.”

The caterpillar >

The egg

 The chrysalis

The metamorphosis


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