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White Albino Gulf Fritillary
Agraulis vanillae

Click on any photo to view a larger image.

Albino Gulf Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) caterpillar in the middle with a Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charitonius) on the left and normal Gulf Fritillary on the right.

Albino Gulf Fritillary
Agraulis vanillae
caterpillar in the middle.

Albino Gulf Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) caterpillar larva


Albino Gulf Fritillary
(Agraulis vanillae)
butterfly caterpillar

Albino Gulf Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) caterpillar larva with a normal orange larva

Normal and Albino
Gulf Fritillary
Agraulis vanillae


     I spend uncountable hours wandering in nature; fields, roadsides, railroad tracks, forests, and more. While wandering out in the back of our property I came across a 'priceless' find; two light green Gulf Fritillary caterpillars. After all, we've raised thousands and thousands of these little rascals. We KNOW they are orange with black spines. These were light green with black faces. In the first photo above, the older larva is in the middle. The one on the left is a Zebra Longwing Heliconius charitonius to show the difference between a white caterpillar and this albino pale green Gulf Fritillary caterpillar. The larva on the right is a normal Gulf Fritillary butterfly caterpillar.

Photo on the top-middle is the same caterpillar from the side.
Photo on the right is a normal Gulf Fritillary and the albino Gulf Fritillary.

These were about one week apart in age.

One finally pupated (that was a long week, I was so impatient) and the chrysalis was normal, as I expected. While waiting for this one to emerge, the second one ate and grew. It pupated almost a week later.

Albino Gulf Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) with white eyes

Albino Gulf Fritillary
Agraulis vanillae
with white eyes.

Albino Gulf Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) and normal orange adult butterfly


Albino Gulf Fritillary
(Agraulis vanillae)
butterfly and normal orange butterfly

Albino Gulf Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) with a normal orange Gulf Fritillary butterfly

Normal and Albino
Gulf Fritillary
Agraulis vanillae


Then the day finally came. I expected the adult to look normal but wow! It was a female with light color and with white eyes. We asked lepidopterists about it and was directed to photos of one light male Gulf Fritillary ... with black eyes.

The second albino Gulf Fritillary emerged exactly one week later. It was identical to the first Gulf Fritillary.

Albino Gulf Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) caterpillar with it's unusual head capsule (face) color

Albino Gulf Fritillary
Agraulis vanillae
caterpillar unusual head capsule color

Normal Gulf Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) caterpillar larva head capsule (face)

Normal Gulf Fritillary
(Agraulis vanillae)
butterfly caterpillar head capsule


Even the head capsule is different. The light caterpillar is on the left and a normal Gulf Fritillary caterpillar is on the right.

While looking for more information, I looked up the word 'albino'. These aren't pure white, like I imagined an albino would look. The dictionary (www.dictionary.com) meaning of 'albino' is "an animal or plant with a marked deficiency in pigmentation".

If these were from our breeding stock I wouldn't have been so excited. Breeding stock at butterfly farms produces more inbreeding than nature produces, obviously! These were two wild-collected caterpillars.