The Florida atala butterfly (Eumaeus atala Poey) is a 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 (a.k.a. coontie). These butterflies were rediscovered and are found in highly localized populations in coastal central and south Florida. Availability of its native host plant and widespread insecticide use are limiting factors that continue to endanger this rare butterfly. The UF/IFAS Extension St Lucie County extension agents worked with partners to conduct field days, exhibit public displays and conduct presentations to teach people how to conserve atalas. A program designed to encourage adoption of atala-friendly landscape practices was created and adopted by organizations in St. Lucie County and other Florida counties where atalas are present.
Learn about this unique and beautiful butterfly. This webinar was updated and aired as part of the UF Nature Nurture series on April 23, 2021. For information about the Nature Nurture series, contact Dr. Shelly Johnson. That series can be accessed HERE.
How can Florida residents and visitors help? If you’ve seen a colony of atala butterflies please report them here.
How can Florida public and private land managers help? Adopt practices and commit to conservation of atalas on your site.
UF/IFAS Extension Martin County Commits to Conserve Rare Atala Butterflies
Fort Pierce Inlet State Park and Audubon of Martin County Commit to Conservation of Rare Atala Butterflies
Florida Coonties and Atala Butterflies
Atala Butterfly, Atala Hairstreak, Coontie Hairstreak, Eumaeus atala Poey 1832 (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)
UF/IFAS Featured Creatures
common name: atala butterfly, atala hairstreak, coontie hairstreak scientific name: Eumaeus atala Poey 1832 (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)
Publications Written by Sandy Koi
Most common garden plants for atala butterflies