All photographs copyright (2003-2013) by Kris H. Light

This <strong>Gulf Fritillary caterpillar</strong> (<em>Agraulis vanillae</em>) is munching a passionflower leaf, its' only food source. The scary-looking black spines are soft and not dangerous. Some caterpillars have sharp spines and can sting. It is ...
This Gulf Fritillary caterpillar (Agraulis vanillae) is munching a passionflower leaf, its' only food source. The scary-looking black spines are soft and not dangerous. Some caterpillars have sharp spines and can sting. It is fascinating how plants and insects battle one another with "one-up-manship". The Passionflower has small extrafloral nectaries (nectar producing bumps) on the leaf axils (bases) which attract ants. The plant "wants" to attract the ants because they eat the eggs and small caterpillars. The butterflies try to outsmart the plants by laying their eggs at the tips of the tendrils, far from the ants. Pretty cool, huh?! I just love nature! :)

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