It’s August and this Agraulis vanillae caterpillar is right on schedule. Satiated and secure in the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. No stresses to manage. No family tensions, no TV, no texting, no horrendous news of the bloody battles going on in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria. This one is just doing what Gulf frit caterpillars have done since who knows when?
Their hostplants are abundant here. Passionflower vines are found along the many canals of this one-time rice farm, now National Wildlife Refuge. At the South Carolina – Georgia line.
Me, I was covered. Yep, covered in OFF insect repellant! It was a fresh batch of OFF! the woodland variety, and I was like an aircraft carrier during the Pacific campaign in WWII. Swarms of enemy above me, in this case, more than one species of mosquito. You don’t see our friend here being stalked, because not a single arthropod could be seen harassing it. Does anyone out there know why Gulf fritillary caterpillars possess such protecia?
What pleasure it must afford these caterpillars, knowing that more than likely they will survive the metamorphosis to adulthood and they will be among the most beautiful winged beauties of all.
N.B., I did once see an adult Gulf fritillary in Pittsburgh, in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory. You just never know!
- Master Naturalists: Look for butterflies visiting your area this week (victoriaadvocate.com)
- Your Natural History Moment (drawingthemotmot.wordpress.com)
- Kodak neighbors’ passion for the process of raising butterflies transforms them into local advocates (knoxnews.com)
- Wildflower Project (sewaneeherbarium.wordpress.com)
- I Drew a Butterfly and Learned Something New (drawingthemotmot.wordpress.com)