People frequently mistake fritillaries for their more famous distant cousins the monarch butterflies. Most are orange and black like the monarchs, but with a different pattern and some are about the same size. 
‘Gulf ‘ refers to the fact that these butterflies migrate over the Gulf of Mexico.  Fritillary comes from a Latin word, fritillus, which means chessboard or dice box.  Another name for these handsome butterflies is silverspots because of the metallic markings on their wings undersides. It is possible that this pattern, similar to a leopard’s spots, serves as camouflage when they are resting in places of dappled sun and shade spots. 
The Gulf Fritillary is commonly seen in parks and gardens, as well as in open country. Its range extends from Argentina north through Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean to the southern United States, as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area on the west coast. It is occasionally farther north. 
The larva is a caterpillar which grows to approximately 4 cm (1.6 in) in length. It is bright orange in color and covered in rows of black spines. The spines are soft to the touch and do not sting, but the larva is poisonous if eaten. The larva feeds exclusively on species of passionflower, such as maypop (Passiflora incarnata) and yellow passionflower (P. lutea). 
Black and orange stripes warn predators of the toxicity of the caterpillar which protects it from predators. Many birds avoid it.