Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Welcome to Atala News!

Welcome to this first edition of online Atala News! As some of you know, I have been working with Eumaeus atala for a few years. This newsletter is dedicated to my ongoing research, and this is where I will be sharing the efforts made toward the conservation and protection of this beautiful creature.

My research primarily involves documenting the historical and current ranges and distribution of the butterfly and it's larval host plant, the cycads in the Zamia genus, called "coontie." It also entails re-introducing the coontie and the butterfly, as well as lecturing and writing about the butterfly, plant and some of South Florida's history.

There are some first thank you's in order: Much appreciation to Thomas a co-worker here at the University of Florida Entomology/Nematology Department for his help setting up this Atala News blog.

I'd also like to thank William Ripley Mohler III for his ongoing help in everything from counting populations to planting coontie. And much thanks to Julie and John Degnan for donating two more beautiful, healthy coontie plants to the program, that were immediately planted in the safety of Sheridan Oaks Forest Natural Area, within John Williams Park.
The atala butterfly has been introduced there as well, and is thriving. The City of Hollywood maintains the park, and Broward County Native Plant Society (BNPS) helps me care for the Sanctuary's inhabitants. BNPS helped us plant coonties there last spring (Go there to see cool pictures!) The Sanctuary is not open to the public yet, but will be sometime next year. In the meantime, you may catch a glimpse of the atala from the outskirts of John Williams Park.

Will keep you posted!
Sandy Koi


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