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


  • J. B. Heppner
  • J. R. Brushwein


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


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.