I have happy news to share, some of my Gulf Fritillary caterpillars have pupated! I’m looking forward to seeing more of these beautiful flutterbies* flitting around my yard soon. Butterflies and other pollinators are the reason I tore out my front lawn over a year ago so I’m delighted to see them thriving here.
*I will continue to say it this way until it catches on – because they are not flies and they do not eat butter but they do flutter by. Just sayin’…
Endemic to this state, they are now considered a vulnerable species due to rapid habitat loss. While common in the pet trade, Florida has instituted a two turtle limit per household (unless you have a special permit).
As for the gender of the turtle, I observed a slight concave dip in the plastron which typically indicates a male (though I could be wrong). Don’t worry, I gently returned him to his spot under a bush after the photoshoot was over.
I can imagine him telling his story to fellow turtles, “Dude, this one time I was abducted by aliens. I went flying through the air – super fast. And when I woke up I was back in same spot. Maybe I was hallucinating, maybe it was something I ate?”