The Gulf Fritillary is a relatively large butterfly; wings span 2 5/8 – 3 1/8 inches. Its upperwings are bright orange, and key field marks include three silvery-white spots ringed in black on both of the upper front forewings. Underwings are brown with brilliant silvery spots. Caterpillars are orange with thick, purplish-gray stripes and long, black spines. As its name implies, this beautiful insect haunts the Gulf of Mexico, and may be seen flying far out over the water. Although it has silver spots like the true fritillaries, the Gulf Fritillary is not closely related to them. Significant emigratory flights of Gulf Fritillaries often take place from the Southeast. Colonization of the North is temporary, as neither the butterfly nor its host plants can withstand northern winters.