Orange Julia

When the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory began its Volunteer Nature Stewardship Program for the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA) in 1998, julia butterflies (Dryas iulia) did not range as far north as Indian River County. The first sighting at ORCA was in 2008.

With warming temperatures, this beautiful orange neotropical butterfly ranges as far north as Brevard County on the east coast of Florida. It also is found from Brazil northward through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies.

Orange elongated wings distinguish this butterfly. Males are brighter orange and sport a dotted bar on their wings. Females are duller colored and have bar-like black markings on the ends of their wings.

Common beggarticks (Bidens alba) is a favored nectar source …

Dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium), which flowers in September & October, and snow squarestem (Melanthera nivea) also are favored …

Like the zebra longwing (Heliconius charithonia) and gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) butterflies, the julia butterflies use passionflower vines (Passiflora sp.) as their larval host plants. At ORCA corkystem passionflower vine (Passiflora suberosa) usually is the host for these three brush-footed (Nymphalidae) butterflies. Of the three, the julia is the less common in Indian River County.

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