|The red-bordered pixie, a tropical butterfly in the metalmark family. Unique to So. TX within the US.|
|Zebra heliconian, of the tropical longwing family|
Zebra and Julia heliconians are in the "longwing" family. These butterflies all feed on passionflower as larvae. The gulf fritillary is one of the more widespread representatives of this group. Gulf fritillaries were actually quite common on site-- the daft creatures were still reproducing. I even found a caterpillar climbing up a plumbago plant looking for a place to pupate. Gulf fritillaries perform a migration of sorts. They cannot survive freezing at any lifestage, so every year they must recolonize their entire northern range. The University of Florida's entomology page claims that the adults move south over the winter. For all I know the butterflies we see north of the freeze line are representatives of a giant population sink.
I'm pleased to have finally captured the full life cycle. First comes a passionflower, then a funky caterpillar, and then 'voila', a gulf fritillary.
|How to make gulf fritillaries|
Next week: the finer points of hairstreak ID.
My list for 11/2/2014:
silver-banded hairstreak (damaged)
mallow scrub hairstreak
large orange sulphur
celia’s roadside skipper
hypocala andremona (underwing moth)
red banded hairstreak
common checkered skipper
gray hairstreakeufala skipper