The Atala Steppingstone Project

Once thought extinct, the rare Florida atala butterfly was rediscovered and can thrive with a little help from Florida residents. The UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County, the Manatee Observation and Education Center, Heathcote Botanical Gardens and FIU are working with residents along the Indian River and St. Lucie River estuaries to adopt atala-friendly landscaping practices.  Partners are Extension Agents Ken Gioeli (lead) and Kate Rotindo, Manatee Center Manager Rachel Tennant, FIU Doctoral Researcher Sandy Koi, and Heathcote Botanical Garden liaisons Alisia Kifer and Christina Adams.  Students in the 2021 Florida Master Naturalist Interpretation Special Topics Course were also engaged in this project.  UF Graphic Designer Michele Wood used her amazing talent to express a complex concept in infographic format.  The final product was the infographic shown below which details the Atala Steppingstone Project plan.

The Atala Steppingstone Project
The Atala Steppingstone Project. Infographics Credits: M. Wood & K. Gioeli

Reference information for the rare Florida atala butterfly:
EDIS Documents
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

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With offices in each of Florida’s 67 counties, UF/IFAS Extension works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.

UF/IFAS Extension programs are open to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, or national origin.  |  @UF_IFAS An Equal Opportunity Institution


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Posted: July 15, 2021

Category: Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, NATURAL RESOURCES, UF/IFAS Extension, Wildlife
Tags: Atala, Botanical Garden, Butterfly, Heathcote, Manatee Center

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