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Passion Butterfly

Passion Butterfly
Photo Information
Copyright: Jim White (jmirah) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 509 W: 5 N: 1141] (4687)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-28
Categories: Insects
Camera: Nikon D90, Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR, 67mm UV filter
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-11-01 2:20
Viewed: 3132
Points: 30
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Gulf Fritillary
Agraulis vanillae

AKA: Passion Butterfly

Click Here For More Info On The Gulf Fritillary

The Gulf Fritillary or Passion Butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) is a striking, bright orange butterfly of the family Nymphalidae, subfamily Heliconiinae. These were formerly classified in a separate family, the Heliconiidae or longwing butterflies, and like other longwings this species does have long, rather narrow wings in comparison with other butterflies. It is not closely related to the true fritillaries. It is a medium to large butterfly, with a wingspan of from 69.5 cm. Its underwings are buff, with large silvery spots. It takes its name from the fact that migrating flights of the butterflies are sometimes seen over the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf Fritillary is commonly seen in parks and gardens, as well as in open country. Its range extends from Argentina through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to the southern United States, as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area on the west coast. It is occasionally found further north in the US.

The larva or caterpillar of the gulf fritillary grows to approximately 4 cm in length and is bright orange in color and covered in rows of black spines on its head and back. The spines are soft to the touch and do not sting. However, the larvae are poisonous if eaten, as the bright coloration advertises. The larvae feed exclusively on various species of passionflower such as maypop (Passiflora incarnata), the yellow passionflower (P. lutea) and running pop (P. foetida).

Their toxic flesh provides gulf fritillary caterpillars with excellent protection from predators. Many birds avoid them. Some specialized insects have been observed feeding on them, however, and larger caterpillars sometimes eat smaller ones. This species belongs to the "orange" Batesian mimicry complex.

The chrysalis is approximately 3 cm long; it is mottled brown and looks like a dry leaf.

Cultivation of passionflowers in gardens has enabled the gulf fritillary to extend its range, for example into new areas of southern and northern California.


Argus, caspian, maurydv, marhowie, jlinaresp, Miss_Piggy, boreocypriensis, CeltickRanger, nasokoun, pierrefonds has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-11-01 2:22]

Hi Jim,beautifuls colors in a wonderful composition,this way to show this beautiful butterfly is wonderful.Thanks for share,have a nice day,Luciano

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-11-01 2:38]

Hello Jim,
A superb capture of the Gulf Fritillary, a species that I have seen in Trinidad before photography became digital.
Excellent POV taken with fine sharpness and colors to be well composed with the red flowers,
The small true bug hiding under the flowers is a small bonus! :)
Thanks and have a good Sunday,

Hello Jim,

Perfect composition. sharpness, exposure and light settings, the success, highlighting the details and has all the beauty. Colors in the spectacular beauty. Very clearly a great photo. Thanks for sharing.

Best Regards,

Hello Jim,
a very beautiful picture, very good sharpness and marvellous vivid colours, well composed.
Best regards

Nice colors and good details Jim, I like the soft light & framing.
That assassin bug with prey beneath the b-fly adds a lot of interest,
Great catch!!

  • Great 
  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1079 W: 293 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2009-11-01 4:40]

Hello Jim,
a real picture of tropical insect life. Butterfly and flowers are shown in brilliant colours and with
excellent sharpness. Just below the butterfly there is bug sucking a fly.
Best wishes, Peter

Hi Jim,

Beautiful and well captured. The environment gives the picture a beautiful structure. It's a beautiful butterfly, it looks like our "iulias" we have here in Venezuela. I guess they're related. Excellent note attached, very thorough and useful. Good work.



Hallo Jim
My compliments to a colourful and most beautiful photograph. What a delightful view. The details of both the flower and the butterfly is truly eye-catching. The combination of colours and the detail in the image are just great. A most appealing and bright and sunny sight. You have used the light well, emphasizing the bright orange and black colours of the butterfly. I very much like the detail captured on the flowers, as it is very interesting to look at. Great work, which is much appreciated. Thanks for sharing. Best regards. Anna

Hi Jim,

Stunning macro of this spectacular beuty from nice POV with perfect focus, soft lighting and delightful composition.
TFS and Cheers,


hello Jim

excellent photo of this butterfly with fine POV & DOF
and the way it is framed on the image, fine focus
excellent sharpness and details, the other insects
add a plus to this beautiful image, TFS


Sinfonia de colores y una mariposa muy atractiva.
Bello conjunto Jim.

hello Jim
colors and composition that fascinate, very good POV and background elect this great photo!
TFS thanks for sharing

Hi Jim,
Wonderful macro shot with amazing colors and excellent details.

hello Jim
very good sharpness picture
great details and beautiful colours
greeting lou

Hi Jim,

The flowers and the leaves are framing well the butterfly. The point of view is showing the details and colors of the Gulf Fritillary butterfly working on the flower. The insect is clear and sharp. The afternoon light is enhancing the beauty of the colors. Have a nice day.


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