I found a Gulf Fritillary in my garden today, eating Passiflora 'Berkeley.' Seems like I see adults and caterpillars almost all year around. However, I read something different in the North American Butterfly Association's publication, American Butterflies. In the Spring 2011 issue is an article titled, "Food for Thought: Butterfly Hostplants and Ranges." In the article, authored by Jeffrey Glassberg, is a map indicating that Gulf Fritillaries have two brood per year in most of California. I don't think so. Seems like it must be five or more, given how long it takes them to go through a generation and how much of the year they fly. I am going to have to start documenting their life cycles. So this photo is the first data point. Large caterpillar eating on August 31. Gulf Fritillaries are tropical butterflies that just don't seem to understand seasons.
As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, I studied Conservation of Natural Resources. I took a couple of entomology classes and became very interested in insects. After I graduated, I held several jobs working with bugs: in the fields of central California, the forests of Connecticut and Idaho, and the labs of Berkeley. Then I went to grad school and studied entomology at UC Riverside and UC Berkeley (back in the olden days when UCB had an entomology department). When my kids were little, I wanted to share my love of insects with them, so I started a butterfly garden before butterfly gardens were popular. Then of course, their teachers asked me to bring caterpillars into the classroom and I started doing classroom presentations. I do presentations in elementary schools, provide teacher trainings, teach adult school classes, and bring live insect specimens to garden fairs. My book is perfect for helping elementary school kids learn about butterflies.