We love butterflies in our family. If there is a chance to go to a butterfly house at a zoo or museum, we will go in a heartbeat. Last year we found a fantastic looking caterpillar on a vine we had in a pot on the front porch. We watched as it got bigger and turned into a chrysalis, then finally, a butterfly. We looked up the caterpillar online and found that it was a gulf fritillary and that they feed exclusively on passion flower vines such as the one we had. Here is a picture of the butterfly that emerged last year:
When we decided to put up lattice with vines on it as a privacy barrier this year, we looked for passion flower vines to give the butterflies a habitat in the backyard. Now that the vines have started to take off, we have had butterflies around all summer long. They have been very active. Today, we went searching in the vines and found dozens of caterpillars in all different sizes, several chrysalises, and several butterflies. It is amazing to see all the butterfly activity in our backyard. The next thing we are going to try and identify are eggs. I know what they should look like, but we didn't see any today. I took some pictures of the different sizes of caterpillars, some of the chrysalises, and one of the butterflies.
A teeny, tiny caterpillar. I can't believe how small they start out!
This one was about half an inch long.
About one inch.
One of the biggest ones at about 1.5 inches when it is all stretched out.
A few of the different chrysalises.
Finally, the one decent picture I managed to get of a butterfly.