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Pictured at left is the gulf fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae). The gulf fritillary is of the family Nymphalidae, the largest family of butterflies with over 6,000 species. The top of the gulf fritillary’s wings are bright orange in color and have a span of 2.4 to3.7 inches. Its underwings are buff in color, with large silvery spots. It takes its common name from its migration over the Gulf of Mexico. The gulf fritillary is commonly seen in parks and gardens, as well as in open country. This butterfly’s range extends from Argentina through Central America, the Caribbean, the southern United States, to as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area.
Image credit: Elizabeth A. Sellers, USGS