Gulf Fritillaries (Diona vanillae) are one of Florida’s most common and prolific butterflies. They are easily recognized by their bright orange and black patterned wings and their quick flight. The female produces multiple generations each year and can often be found wherever nectar sources occur together with their larval host plants in the genus Passiflora, e.g. the inconspicuous Corkystem Passionflower (Passiflora suberosa), Yellow Passionflower (Passiflora lutea), and the especially beautiful Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). The latter should be purchased at a trusted plant nursery that specializes in native plants, since Passiflora “Incense” (Passiflora incarnata x cincinnata), a hybrid with an exotic species, is often sold labelled as our true native Passionflower and can easily be confused with it.
If you are interested in learning more about Florida, become a member of the Environmental Learning Center and join us on our guided field trips through conservation areas in Indian River and Brevard Counties.