Floridata Article

Julia Butterfly (Dryas iulia)

Julia Butterfly
Habitat: In and along the edges of tropical hardwood hammocks Garden Abundance: Moderate Wingspan: 3.0 - 3.5in Range: South Texas, South Florida and the Florida Keys Larval Host Plants: Various passion flower vines (Passiflora spp.) Favorite Adult Nectar Sources: Firebush (Hamelia patens), lantana (Lantana camera), porterweed (Stachytarpheta spp.), and Spanish needles (Bidens alba)

The Julia is an elegant butterfly, easily recognized by its long, narrow bright orange wings. This is a tropical species, found only in the extreme southern portions of the Gulf Coast states. Males are almost pure orange with just a few black patches on the tips of the forewings, and a thin hind wing border. Females are somewhat paler and have more black markings on the forewings. The Julia is a quick and agile flier and seldom strays far from tropical woodlands.

The elongate, yellow eggs are deposited singly on the new growth of the host. Like the zebra longwing, females prefer to oviposit on vines growing in shady locations. The mature larva is dark brown to black with several rows of cream colored spots and numerous branched, black spines. The chrysalis is brown and leaflike and attached at the base with silk.

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