What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Gulf Fritillary larva and butterfly
I live in Ventura California and saw this caterpillar in a local park a few months ago (early spring). I thought it was a Gulf Fritillary larva until I saw a confirmed Gulf Fritillary larva on your website. Mine looks redder and does not have a orange head. What does it eat? I can’t find this butterfly in any of my family’s bug books, can you help identify it? thanks for your help,
Andrew Strauss

Hi Andrew,
Both your caterpillar and butterfly are Gulf Fritillaries, Agraulis vanillae. The caterpillar feeds exclusively on Passion Vine. The adults take nectar. Hogue describes the caterpillars as slate gray or purple on the back with burnt orange stripes on the sides.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

3 Responses to Two Stages in Gulf Fritillary Metamorphosis

  1. Joy says:

    I was wondering if the spines on these caterpillars are poisonous? Was going to cage some so my kids could watch them metamorp but don’t want to put my kids in danger if they are poisonous.

    • bugman says:

      We have never seen Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars listed among stinging caterpillars and we have handled them with no ill effects. In our opinion, they are safe.

  2. Catherine says:

    I found these on my passion vine in Mesquite Texas today!

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