Mourning Cloak,
Location: New Braunfels TX
April 15, 2012 6:52 pm
I have found these caterpillars on my Passion Flower plant having a good time
eating to there hearts content and leaving nothing behind. Is this a typical plant for these caterpillars that are making a nuisance to my plants. I understand there are several varieties . Is there anyway to remove them without destroying them?
Signature: Leonard

Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar

Dear Leonard,
Though it resembles a Mourning Cloak Caterpillar and is in the same family, this is actually the caterpillar of a Gulf Fritillary.  If you remove they from your passion flower and you do not relocate them to another passion flower, they will not survive.  Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars only feed on plants in the genus
Passiflora.  The range of the butterfly has grown with the cultivation of its food plant.  The adult Gulf Fritillaries are lovely orange butterflies with silver spots on the under surface of the wings.

Location: Texas

5 Responses to Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar

  1. Jake says:

    Is the Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar poisonous and will it hhurt you if climbing on you? Thanks

  2. Kara Host says:

    I know you are smart and have experience on identifying insects, but that is not a Gulf Fritillary. It is actually a Banded Fritillary, and you are lucky because I raise GFs, and have never attracted one of these!

    • bugman says:

      Hi Kara,
      We researched the Banded Orange Heliconian or Orange Tiger, Dryadula phaetusa, on BugGuide where it states: “Caterpillar is dull purple, four rows of long spines, and has two spiny horns on head.” The caterpillar host is listed as “Passion-vines” and the range is listed as: “Central Mexico to Brazil. Rare appearances north to Texas and Kansas.” All that indicates you are probably correct. The Caterpillar is pictured on PBase.

  3. Kara Host says:

    Cool : )

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