Eunica tatila tatilista, Florida Purplewing

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Eunica tatila tatilista, Florida Purplewing

Adult perching on a tree trunk in North Key Largo

Description: 21-29 mm. Dark brown in color with bright iridescent violet color on the dorsal side. Forewings have a series of white spots. Underside is mottled gray in color with white spots on forewings. It is larger than Eunica monima and purple shines more brightly!

 

Habitat and Distribution: This species lives in the hardwood hammocks of Southernmost Florida, Texas, Central and South America and the Carribean. It has been reported from most of the Keys with Hardwood hammocks.

 

Host Plant: Crabwood (Gymnanthes lucida)

 

Natural History: This has been an elusive butterfly in recent years. Although it goes through population explosions, they do not seem to colonize in the hammocks of urban areas of the Keys. We have seen them consistently in the hammocks of North Key largo. Females go through reproductive diapause in the winter and will live for months waiting for host trees to flush with new growth so they can lay eggs. This species rarely visits flowers.  They are typically seen perching on the trunks and branches of trees. They take quick short flights and land again and can be very difficult to follow because as soon as they land, their drab underside hides them well in the trees where they land. 

 

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Species Pages

Eunica tatila tatilista, Florida Purplewing

Adult perching on a tree

trunk in North Key Largo

Eunica tatila tatilista, Florida Purplewing

Adult perching on a tree

trunk in North Key Largo

Eunica tatila tatilista, Florida Purplewing

Females sipping on fruit