Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
Taxonomic Hierarchy Photo
Kingdom: Animalia -- animal
Phylum: Arthropoda -- arthropods
      Subphylum: Hexapoda -- hexapods
Class: hexapoda -- insects


Pterygota -- iwinged insects
           Infraclass: Neoptera -- modern, wing-folding insects
Order: Lepidoptera -- butterflies, moths
Superfamily: Papilionoidea -- butterflies
      Family: Nymphalidae -- admirals, anglewings, brush-footed butterflies
           Subfamily: Heliconiinae
Genus: Agraulis
Species: Agraulis vanillae
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United States Range Map


California Range Map

Adult Sexes Similar

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Identification:   Life history:
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.   Males patrol for females, who lay eggs on many parts of the host plant. Caterpillars feed on most parts of the host. Adults overwinter in the south.
Flight:   Wing Span:
Throughout the year in south Florida and South Texas, January-November in the north. Number of broods has not been determined.   2 1/2 - 3 3/4 inches (6.3 - 9.5 cm).

Caterpillar Hosts:

  Adult Food:
Various species of passion-vine including maypops (Passiflora incarnata) and running pop (P. foetida).   Nectar from lantana, shepherd\'s needle, cordias, composites, and others.
Habitat:   Season:
Pastures, open fields, second-growth subtropical forest and edges, city gardens.    
Remarks:   Conservation:
    Not usually of concern.

NatureServe Global Status:  G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Management needs: Cultivate host plants.

Sources used to Construct this Page:  

Additional Photos

Adult Sexes Similar

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All photos 2008 Rick Swartzentrover - Free for non-profit use.

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Global ranks indicate the rarity of a species at a global scale. Species may be fairly common globally but imperiled locally. Global ranks have the following meaning:

  • G1 - Critically Imperiled - At very high risk of extinction due to extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer populations), very steep declines, or other factors.
  • G2 - Imperiled - At high risk of extinction due to very restricted range, very few populations (often 20 or fewer), steep declines, or other factors.
  • G3 - Vulnerable - At moderate risk of extinction due to a restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other factors.
  • G4 - Apparently Secure - Uncommon but not rare; some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors.
  • G5 - Secure - Common; widespread and abundant.
  • * ? or Q = status unknown or uncertain