Butterflies – Gulf Fritillary

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All around the Charleston, SC area the Gulf Fritillary butterflies are fluttering about.  These Butterflies can be seen around gardens and floating through open areas everywhere this time of year.  They lay their eggs on the Passionflower (Passioniflora incarnata and  Passioniflora lutea) vines, which their larvae use as a food source.  Both these plants are native to the Charleston, SC area.  I let some P. lutea vine grow wild up through a bush just outside my front door.  I was able to capture images of every stage of the life cycle all on that single bush.  Above we have the adult butterfly’s upper and lower wings.  Below I have pictures of the eggs on a P. lutea leaf, and also the larvae actively feeding on the plants.

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These are three pics I took last year around this time in the same location.  These show the larvae spinning its chrysalis, meant to look like a dead leaf, and for about 2 weeks hanging there and finally emerging.  I just happened to walk out with awesome timing to be able to capture these three pics like this.

This is proof that you don’t have to go very far to see the wonders of nature.  I took all these pics not ten feet from my front door.  Just by allowing one plant (that most people discard as a weed) grow up wild, I get to enjoy this awesome miracle every year.  

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Just as an add on, this is a pic of the P. lutea flower that I took close up.  As well as attracting butterflies, it is also very pretty to look at.

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