Living With Passion

by jjneal

The Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, feeds on vines in the Passion Fruit family, including Passion Fruit vines. Several species of Passiflora vines are cultivated as garden ornamentals in many parts of the Unites States. The Gulf Fritillary has expanded its range to include those areas where gardeners plant vines that can serve as food for larvae.

In the early 1970s, the Gulf Fritillary range was expanded to the Hawaiian Islands. The Gulf Fritillary was intentionally introduced as a possible biological control agent for the banana poka, Passiflora mollissima, an invasive weed from Central America that is one of the worst forest pests in Hawaii.

The Gulf Fritillary, failed to provide adequate control of banana poka but does feed on other species of Passiflora. The Gulf Fritillary is now established in Hawaii where it feeds on species of Passiflora, other than P. mollissima. In some parts of its range, the Gulf Fritillary is considered a pest because it destroys the Passion Fruit vines.

On a trip to the island of Hawaii in 2006, I photographed this Gulf Fritillary resting on the ground.

Gulf Fritillary

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment, Invasive Species, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

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