October 25, 2009
This butterfly feeding on a Zennia bloom looks like a Gulf Frittilary,but for the black
coloring on the upper & lower wings. Is this a sub-species of sort or a one-time mutation. It is the only one I have seen in my garden since I moved in 18 yrs ago.
Thanks for your patience; .. Lynn T Gill
We decided to begin our quest for a response by searching through all the Gulf Fritillary images on BugGuide, and we located an individual with even more black on the wings than your specimen. That specimen created quite a blogging flurry, including this comment by Herschel Raney: “I was not being quite confident enough in my other note. This is indeed a Gulf Fritillary. There will be no other species with the exact spot placement and this coloration. It may be the first of its kind photographed. Or it could be a known variant that is just extremely rare. It is not a wandered species. There are no other species in the genus in our area. And it is very impressive.” Klaus, who posted the photos has more on his own website at http://virtua-gallery.com/wp/2007/09/the-butterfly-adventure/ It would be interesting to see if there are more dark specimens out there and if they eventually are recognized as a subspecies.