Family: Nymphalidae Subfamily: Heliconiinae
The Gulf Fritillary caterpillar is shiny black, with reddish-orange stripes on its top and sides. There are four rows of spines which are harmless to humans.
The butterfly of this caterpillar feeds only on nectar, not on pollen. It is not a true fritillary. A true fritillary feeds on pollen, has longer rounded forewings, and stay north and west of Florida.
An adult butterfly has bright orange uppersides and iridescent silver spots on the underside. It cannot survive freezing temperatures at any stage of its life.
I got all of this information from the book mentioned above. I did see one of these butterflies flying around the bushes. I tried to get a picture, but it was too busy. 😀
My son was stung on the palm by a caterpillar, a few years ago. He put his whole palm down on top of the caterpillar, by accident and then came in screaming. He had welts and you could tell the entire caterpillar got him. It took weeks for it to clear up, but to this day, if he gets hot and sweaty the welts show back up. He won’t go near a caterpillar now and all the ones with spikes are poisonous to him. I don’t blame him for running. 🙂