This photograph was taken in August in Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, actually in the southeastern corner of South Carolina, though it’s only about a 20 minutes drive from Savannah, Georgia. Our one week vacation blast was spent on Tybee Island. Mornings were spent at the Refuge. Mosquitoes were thrilled to greet me along the former rice paddocks in the Refuge. OFF didn’t seem to deter them. They were professionals.
Variegated Fritillary butterflies (Euptoieta claudia) were in abundance that morning. Variegated fritillary caterpillars were also easy to locate and photograph. Most of the caterpillars spent the morning eating the leaves of passionflower vines (see our post today: Passionflower). By late morning the caterpillars were slowly moving down the stems of the vines. Were they headed to Siesta?
Resplendent in their red-orange stripes, white stripes and black spines, they confirm my wingedbeauty.com argument: That butterflies are more beautiful than the magnificent jewelry of the very finest designers.
While I was working to photograph this larval gem, I was prey for perhaps 2-3 species of mosquitoes. The caterpillar was 100% free of such pests. Does anyone know why?