Florida Purplewing (Eunica tatila [Herrich-Schäffer])
Wing span: 1 9/16 - 2 7/16 inches (4 - 6.2 cm).
Identification: Upperside of both wings is brown with purple iridescence at bases. Outer half of forewing with 6 or 7 white spots, forewing apex with an irregular margin. Hindwing has 6 or 7 white eyespots at margin.
Life history: Not reported.
Flight: Throughout the year in southern Florida.
Caterpillar hosts: Not reported.
Adult food: Decaying fruit, nectar from Lantana and Cordia.
Habitat: Hardwood hammocks in the Florida Keys, river forests elsewhere.
Range: Argentina through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to southern Florida. Strays to South Texas, and rarely to Kansas.
Conservation: Conserve remaining habitat on Florida Keys.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: Manage habitat so as to protect remaining hardwood hammocks.
Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Smith, D. S., L. D. Miller, and J. Y. Miller. 1994. The butterflies of the West Indies and South Florida. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 264 pages, 32 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo.