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.
Here are more photos from the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s 2014 symposium at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida, on 19 & 20 September. Two Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) butterflies show great interest in a Passionflower Vine, the Fritillary’s larval host plant. This particular Passionflower Vine is the Maypop (Passiflora incarnata) and you can learn more about it at Janice Broda’s ORCA blog. Various photos of Bok Tower from different angles. The tower is adorned with large ceramic tile murals, […]
Categories: Nature • Tags: Adam and Eve, Bok Tower, Bok Tower Gardens, Cape Blue waterlily, Florida, Florida Wildflower Foundation, Florida Wildflower Symposium, Gulf Fritillary, Lake Wales, larval host plant, Maypop, passionflower vine, Pinewood Estate, Victoria 'Longwood Hybrid', Victoria amazonica, Victoria waterlily, waterlily