Large butterfly with a wing span up to 4 7/8 inches. The male is bright orange with wide black borders and veins. The female is orange-brown with wide black borders and blurred black veins. Both sexes have white spots on borders and the apex.
Widespread in North America, Mexico, Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
All year in South Florida.
Marshes, prairies and open, disturbed sites.
Eggs are laid under the leaves of host plants.
Caterpillars feed on the leaves and flowers of host plants. Native larval host plants include the cultivated wildflowers butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), fewflower milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata), green antelopehorn (Asclepias viridis) and swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Other native host plants include the wildflowers Curtiss' milkweed (Asclepias curtissii), longleaf milkweed (Asclepias longifolia), pinewoods milkweed (Asclepias humistrata) and velvetleaf milkweed (Asclepias tomentosa), and the vine whitevine (Sarcostemma clausum). Native nectar plants include all plants in the genus Asclepias, the shrub saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia), the wildflower seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), and the vine climbing aster (Aster carolinianus). Weedy native nectar plants include Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata). The nonnatives scarlet milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) and giant milkweed (Caltropis gigantea) are also larval host plants.
Gann, G.D., M.E. Abdo, J.W. Gann, G.D. Gann, Sr., S.W.
Woodmansee, K.A. Bradley, E. Grahl and K.N. Hines. 2005-2016. Natives For Your Neighborhood. http://www.regionalconservation.org.
The Institute for Regional Conservation. Delray Beach, Florida USA.