Those passion flowers (Passiflora) are insect magnets.
One minute you'll see a praying mantis on a blossom. The next minute, a Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae. And the next morning, the blossom is an arthropod magnet--the beginnings of a spider web.
Passiflora is the host plant of the Gulf Fritillary, a spectacular orange butterfly with silver-spangled underwings. The Gulf Frit lays its eggs only on Passiflora.
The Gulf Frits know where the Passiflora is. Their predators know where the butterflies are.
The female mantis, Mantis religiosa (below), didn't snag the butterfly. But it did grab and munch on a few Gulf Frit caterpillars.
Ever critter eats in the garden.
Author - Communications specialist
A female praying mantis, Mantis religiosa, crawls over a passionflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, lands on a passionflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Notice the spider's thread across the blossom of this passionflower vine? The spider knows where the prey is. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)