FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County has created a new blog to help citizens report the locations of rare Florida atala butterflies on the Florida Treasure Coast. This blog is found online at http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/stlucieco/2019/08/16/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 integrifoliaLinnaeus. f. (a.k.a. coontie). These beautiful butterflies were rediscovered and 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 on the Treasure Coast close to the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. Information about Florida atala butterflies will be on public display at the Manatee Observation and Education Center through October.
For additional information, please contact Natural Resources Extension Agent Ken Gioeli at firstname.lastname@example.org or 772-462-1627.
–St. Lucie County