Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, with Light Larval Variants in Florida (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae).

J. B. Heppner, J. R. Brushwein


The Lauraceae-specialist swallowtail butterfly, Papilio palamedes Drury, has never been reported using a prominent tree species like silk bay (Persea borbonia var. humilis, Lauraceae) in central Florida. This tree grows in the central white, arid, sandy habitats and its dense hairy/pubescent leaves distinguish it from the glabrous hammock-dwelling red bay (Persea borbonia var. borbonia) and the wetland/swamp-dwelling swamp bay (Persea palustris). We examined the suitability of these two plant species for larval survival and growth using split-brood bioassays. No significant differences in survival, pupal weight, overall duration of development or growth rates were observed. Whatever prevents silk bay from being used as a natural host for the P. palamedes butterfly is not known.


arid sand habitats; defenses; ecological monophagy; habitats; hostplants; Lauraceae; Magnoliaceae; Nearctic; North America; USA; wetlands

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