The Atala Butterfly, Eumaeus atala, once thought to be extinct, is native to Florida. The host plant is the Florida coontie (Zamia floridana), which is a cycad, or "living fossil," The Atala can tolerate the natural toxins in coonties and uses the accumulated toxins and its brilliant coloration as a defense against bird predators. The female lays her eggs, five to fifteen, usually, on coontie stalks The butterfly emerges in the early morning, courts and mates in the late afternoon, and dies within ten days.
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