Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Corralitas Drive: Gulf Fritillary Mating Fest

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 15, 2015.  Last week, Gulf Fritillary Butterflies (Aragulis vanaillae) have been running amok and mating in my backyard lately.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)  

Gulf Fritillaries are really striking butterflies with bright orange on the top of their wings; brown and white on the underside of their wings.  The brown is even shaded to look three dimensional.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 15, 2015. Once they land they remain attached for so long, I had a plethora of shots to choose from.  I could see how their underwing camouflage works to their advantage with such long mating sessions. A predator might not be able to differentiate the butterflies from a mass of dry leaves, twigs or branches backlit by the sun.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 13, 2015.  A few days earlier, I happened to have my cell phone in hand when a pair of Gulf Fritillaries were tumbling through the air in the backyard.  

Gulf Fritillaries, are among the most common butterflies in the neighborhood.  Their larval food plant is non-native, exotic Passion Flower.