Fluttering Frenzy


These gulf fritillary caterpillars and butterflies are certainly keeping me in a constant state of wonderment. Mostly because there are quite a few chrysalises hanging around my house, more than I have ever seen before. It’s quite exciting!

A week or so ago, I stumbled upon a mess of gulf fritillary butterflies in the passionflower vine and it took me an embarrassingly long minute to realize I was witnessing a fluttery threesome. Most entomologists would probably find the whole thing interesting to watch, as I did, but probably wouldn’t feel like entomological perverts, as I did. It was a little awkward.

three gulf fritillary chrysalises

on the porch railing

gulf fritillary chrysalis

in the passionflower vine

As of right now, I can count ten chrysalises on my front porch alone (some are even attached to the brick frame, flower pots, window sills, etc.). This place is going to be a frenzy of butterfly hatching activity once the weather warms up again – by next week, I hope. There is a cold front moving in Thursday night and a second push on Saturday. The butterflies will emerge once they’re warm enough to do so and, in this case, I’m crossing my fingers for warmer weather so these little guys can easily carry on with their happy little life cycles.

gulf fritillary

gulf fritillary on passionflower


8 thoughts on “Fluttering Frenzy

  1. I love gulf fritillaries, they are just so pretty and the nature garden I volunteered at had them as well as blue morphos, monarchs, giant swallowtails, painted ladies, buckeyes, a whole assortment, and the kids who visited loved all the butterflies! And butterfly threesomes are definitely awkward, interesting, but awkward. 😉

    • I used to really hate this plant but I never realized what it would give me if I’d just leave it alone and stop trying to trains its vines to grow in another direction! It’s covered in caterpillars (so many caterpillars!!!), so I am expecting a huge baby boom very soon. Feel free to use the photo if you’d like 🙂

  2. Dena – Despite trying so hard for monarch butterflies with my milkweed plants, they don’t stick around long after they hatch. Those Gulf fritillaries, tho, are dime a dozen. I actually watched one lay an egg on the wood post of my porch. Apparently, they aren’t as fussy about where they’ll lay their eggs as the monarchs. I’ve seen them hang out in threesomes, too, but haven’t witnessed anything that would make me feel like a, ah, ummm, snicker-snicker, pervert.

    • Ha! I have learned that the gulf fritillaries require the passion flower vine to keep going, so I am happy to watch these guys go about their business. It is rather fun to see it all happen in front of me. Thanks to a good rainy four days last week, the milkweed is growing like crazy, but I’m not sure when to expect anything monarchy to happen. I’m just as happy to see greenery on my porch, though 🙂

  3. I miss the butterflies of summer. You are soo lucky. here in montana they are pretty much gone by mid-september. There is something so vibrant and urgent about them that makes you realize what life can be. 🙂

    • I agree! We had a bunch of zebra longwings in my tangerine tree when I left Florida in June. I haven’t seen one here yet, but before I came to Oklahoma, I’d never seen a passionflower of a gulf fritillary. It’s been interesting 🙂

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