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Santa Barbara Field Guides Butterflies

     Agraulis vanillae
     Gulf Fritillary


Size: wingspread 2.25-3.25 in
Recognition: Medium-large; upperside bright orange with black markings and three black spots with white center along leading edge FW that are also seen underneath; underside HW is heavily silvered, along with tips (apex) of FW; very distinct and dramatic butterfly.
Flight period: Flies all year, but most common in summer.
Hostplants: Larvae feed on cultivated passion-vine species (Passiflora) which are commonly used as decorative garden vines due to their beautiful and dramatic flowers.
Habitat: Found mainly in urban settings, especially around passion-vine, as well as fields, deserts, foothills, and forest edges.
Distribution: Found throughout the southern U.S., Mexico, and into central and South America. This Fritillary can be found as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area, but is much more common in southern California.
Other: When flying, this fritillary has a sure and shallow flight.

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