Natives For Your Neighborhood is a labor of love and commitment. If you use this website, help us maintain and grow it with your tax-deductible donation.

Please scroll to the bottom for more images.
Eumaeus atala

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2014

Small butterfly with a wingspan up to 2 inches. The abdomen is red-orange. The upperside of the male wings is deep black with an iridescent blue or teal green overlay and markings. The female has a bright royal blue iridescent streak at the base of the forewings and iridescent blue spots at the base. The underside of the wings on both is dull black; the hindwing has a large red-orange spot and three rows of irregular iridescent ultramarine spots. The eyes are ringed with ultramarine. Caterpillars are bright red, with two rows of lemon-yellow spots on the upper side.
South Florida, West Indies.
 Map of native range by ZIP code north to Indian River and Manatee counties.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Subtropical parts of southern Florida. Short-lived introduced colonies in other areas. Garden abundance is moderate to high.
Hammocks, pinelands, and urban areas.
Breeds year-round; most common March-April, October-December. The cream-colored eggs are laid on the upperside of leaftips in clusters of 60 or more.
Natural History:
Caterpillars feed in groups out in the open. The cycads on which they feed contain a toxic chemical; birds, lizards, and other animals attempt to eat the caterpillars but learn to avoid them. Adults sometimes roost in trees. They fly in a slow, moth-like flight pattern.
Larval host plants include the native coontie (Zamia integrifolia) and a wide variety of introduced cycads. Nectar plants include the native shiny-leaved wild-coffee (Psychotria nervosa), blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis), American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) and white indigoberry (Randia aculeata) and the weedy Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata).
Once abundant in peninsular Florida, commercial harvesting of host plant and urbanization reduced Atala to a single known colony by 1965. Since then it has made a remarkable recovery. For more information, visit the Florida Museum of Natural History's Florida Wildflowers & Butterflies website, the University of Florida/IFAS Featured Creatures website, and Butterflies and Moths of North America. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Know Your Native Pollinators page.
Miami Blue Chapter NABA (2022) and Daniels (2003)

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2014

Copyright by: Holly Salvato, 2019

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2014

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2014

Find Native Plants!

Acknowledgements and past sponsors

Become a sponsor!

Major Sponsor:

Emergent Sponsors:

Canopy Sponsors:
Herbaceous Sponsors:

Jay Bird - @BotanizingBirdingButterflies

Florida Native Plant Nursery