Nature: Butterflies and Moths

Gulf Fritillary 海灣豹紋蝶 (Family Nymphalidae, Brush-footed Butterflies)

Long ago the Gulf Fritillary was almost entirely a tropical butterfly, but, for some reason, it has been slowly moving northward in North America and southward in South America. Half a century ago it was found only along the southern border of the United States from southern California, Minnesota, Iowa, and New Jersey where once it was entirely unknown. Since the caterpillar of this butterfly lives mainly on the beautiful passion-flower, it may be that this flower has been introduced more and more into gardens in the northern states.

If you try to catch the Gulf Fritillary in a net, you will find it a fast flyer, but also a fearless one. There is a good reason for this courage, for this butterfly is poisonous to eat and you will soon see that birds leave it strictly alone. Perhaps the brilliant silver spangles or spots on the underside of the hind wings serve as warnings, for the butterfly is often seen to flash these spots like mirrors in the sunlight.

The Gulf Fritillary is a great lover of flowers, constantly flitting from the blossom and drinking the nectar with every sign of satisfaction. Great numbers of them also gather at damp spots on the roads in summer.

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