Gulf Nectar Photos Gulf Fritillary Butterflies Agraulis vanillae
These orange and black caterpillars on your passion vine are Gulf Fritillary larvae.

If you watch the butterflies for a while, you might see one lay an egg on a leaf here and there like the one below.  You can see the egg at the end of her abdomen. There is a passion vine growing in the grass, and she's laid her egg on the tip of a dead grass stem beside the vine. I've seen Gulfs lay eggs in a lot of odd places near, but not always on, the vine.

The eggs are just a tiny single yellow-orange elongated oval dot. The Zebra Heliconians use the same vine, and their eggs look similar, but they lay a bunch of eggs at once on a tender tip of new growth on the vine.

Gulf Fritillary caterpillar
Gulf Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly Laying an Egg
Gulf Fritillary Chrysalis
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly Chrysalis
This caterpillar just shed its skin; it's that dark blob right above it.
Once they've had enough to eat, they'll hang upside-down to make their chrysalis. The one on the left is doing so, but if you look carefully you'll see two tiny flies on it. They aren't flies. See my age and death page for the rest of that grim story.
I finally finished the page that compares the three butterflies that use passion vines as their host plant in South Florida: the Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Heliconian, and Julia Dryas.
If you raise a caterpillar, be sure to clean out the container and give it fresh leaves from its host plant a few times a day. 

It's worthwhile to raise one once, because when it first emerges from its chrysalis, it needs to hang upside-down and dry its' wings for an hour or two, and it will happily cling to your fingertip while it does.

Be sure to let it hang upside-down until its wings are fully extended and stiff, or it won't be able to fly properly.

It's about to fly away
....and then they eat. This one is sipping nectar from a Cnidoscolus flower.
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly Emerged from its Chrysalis
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly Chrysalis
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
....and then you scroll back to the top where they lay eggs.

(Loop, endless, see 'endless loop'. Endless loop, see 'loop, endless'. I love that line!)

For more on these beautiful Gulf Fritillary Butterflies, see Gulf Fritillary Butterflies Page Two. This page got too long, so I had to put the other photos there. You also might want to visit my Gulf Fritillary Butterflies "Birds and the Bees" Page.

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