Report your atala butterflies here…

The Florida atala butterfly (Eumaeus atala Poey) is a beautiful, somewhat rare hairstreak butterfly characterized by satiny black wings featuring an iridescent turquois shimmer. It was thought to be extinct due to overharvest of its host plant, Zamia integrifolia Linnaeus. f. (a.k.a. coontie). These beautiful butterflies are now found on coontie plants in localized colonies primarily in South Florida. During the warm summer months (especially in August) a significant abundance of these beautiful butterflies can be found at locations throughout coastal southeast and southwest Florida.

Help us track the locations of Florida atala butterflies on the Florida Treasure Coast and other parts of coastal central and south Florida. To report atala sightings, please report them on iNaturalist at Atala Butterflies of Florida · iNaturalist


Once thought to be extinct, the Florida atala butterfly was rediscovered and now has established populations in subtropical southeast Florida (Koi and Hall 2019).

Atala butterfly adult
Figure 1. A Florida atala butterfly perches on a sea grape leaf at the Fort Pierce Inlet State Park. Atalas are found in ephemeral populations at Fort Pierce Inlet State Park. Photo credits: K. Gioeli
atala caterpillars
Figure 2. Florida atala butterfly caterpillars are host-specific to Zamia integrifolia (a.k.a. coontie) which is found in the landscaping at the Fort Pierce Inlet State Park. Toxins in the coontie plant are ingested by the caterpillars making the caterpillars toxic to predators. Photo credits: K. Gioeli

Much thanks to Annmarie Loveridge for her commitment to conservation of Florida’s native plants and animals.
Literature Cited
Koi, S., & Hall, D. W. 2019. Atala Butterfly, Atala Hairstreak, Coontie Hairstreak, Eumaeus atala Poey 1832 (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Retrieved May 14, 2019, from

Translation to Spanish by Luz Bahder

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Posted: July 2, 2020

Category: , Community Volunteers, Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, NATURAL RESOURCES, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: #UFBugs, #wildlife, Atala, Butterfly, Endangered Species, Extinction, Insect

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