The Gulf FritillaryAndrew V. Z. Brower and Margarita Beltrán
The Gulf fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, is a widespread, geographically variable neotropical species that occurs from the south central U. S. to southern South America. Lamas (2004) lists a second, undescribed species in the genus from Peru.
Early stages: Eggs are yellow and approximately 1 x 0.8 mm (h x w). Females place eggs singly on leaves of the host plant. Mature larvae are approximately 1.2 cm long. Caterpillars are gregarious in small numbers (Brown, 1981).
Agraulis vanillae larva. © David Cappaert.
Agraulis vanillae larva getting ready to pupate (left, © Jerry A. Payne, USDA ARS), pupa (center, © Katja Schulz), freshly eclosed butterfly (right, © Jerry A. Payne, USDA ARS).
Agraulis occurs in scrubs and fields. Usually individuals fly rapidly. Females mate multiply, and adults roost at night in loose groups, lower than 2 m above the ground in grass blades and leaves (Brown, 1981).
Hostplant: Agraulis is polyphagous, and larvae feed primarily on plants from the subgenera Granadilla and Distephana (Passifloraceae) (Brown, 1981).
Boisduval J. B., Dechauffour de A. and Le Conte J. E. 1835 Histoire générale et iconographie des lépidoptères et des chenilles de l'Amérique septentrionale. Paris, Méquignon-Marvis; Crochard; Roret. (11-22): 101-196, pls. 31-65.
Brown K. S. 1981 The Biology of Heliconius and Related Genera. Annual Review of Entomology 26, 427-456.
Lamas G ed. 2004. Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Checklist: Part 4A Hesperioidea - Papiionoidea. Gainesville: Scientific Publishers/Association of Tropical Lepidoptera.
Michener CD. 1942. A review of the subspecies of Agraulis vanillae (Linnaeus). Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae. Amer. Mus. Novit. 1215: 1-7.
Linnaeus C. 1758 Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synomymis, locis. Editio Decima, reformata. Holmiae, Laurentius Salvius. 1: iv + 823 +  pp. ([1 January]) [facsimilar reprint in Mid-Continent Lepidoptera Series 2(23), April 1971]
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Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA
University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Andrew V. Z. Brower at and Margarita Beltrán at
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- First online 19 February 2007
- Content changed 03 September 2008
Citing this page:
Brower, Andrew V. Z. and Margarita Beltrán. 2008. Agraulis http://tolweb.org/Agraulis_vanillae/70429/2008.09.03 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/. Agraulis vanillae . The Gulf Fritillary. Version 03 September 2008 (under construction).