An Atala butterfly begins to emerge from its chrysalis attached to a leaf of the Coontie plant. The Coontie plant is all things to the Atala. A place to lay its eggs, a grocery store for the caterpillars to consume its leaves, a quiet place to form a chrysalis to carry out metamorphosis. Then a place to return to later in life to lay eggs to start the process all over again.
The Atala caterpillar warns potential predators of its toxicity by its garish red and yellow coloration. The Coontie plant, the Atala’s larval host plant, is toxic but the Atala thrives on its leaves and uses its deadly attributes to its own advantage for survival.