Photo: Passiflora, passiflora fruit and Gulf Fritillary caterpillar

I felt so lucky to find this picture along our walk. Here you have 3 major components of the passiflora life cycle — the alien-looking flowers, the resulting fruit and even a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar (there on the right above the green fruit), which feeds almost exclusively on passiflora.

I hadn’t noticed the caterpillar initially as I was taking other pictures, but as I was framing a shot, there it was.

Passiflora flower, fruit and Gulf Fritillary catepillar

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From Wikipedia…

The Gulf Fritillary or Passion ButterflyAgraulis vanillae, is a striking, bright orange butterfly of the family Nymphalidae, subfamilyHeliconiinae. 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 6–9.5 cm (2.4–3.7 in). Its underwings are buff, with large silvery spots.[1] It takes its name from migrating flights of the butterflies sometimes seen over the Gulf of Mexico.

Read more about the Gulf Fritillary on Wikipedia

I have harvested some of the seed pods from these plants and, while they have grown, the caterpillars eat the leaves almost as quickly as they grow. I need to find a better spot where the vines can out pace the insects, I guess.

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