Upland Pine, Blackwater River State Forest. Photo by Gary Knight

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Species in Focus: Malachite

Photo by Dean Jue.

Named after the bright green mineral, the malachite (Siproeta stelenes) is a striking butterfly species found in south Florida, south of Lake Okeechobee.  It may be found in tropical hammocks and overgrown citrus groves where its host plant (Brown’s blechum, Blechum pyramidatum) is available.  Commonly found from Brazil through Mexico, the malachite originally strayed into Florida from the Caribbean before becoming established in the 1970s.  Populations were reduced by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and again by cold weather in the early 2010s.

The malachite is one of 83 species of butterflies and moths tracked by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory.

Heritage Global Rank:    G5 (globally secure)
Heritage State Rank:       S2 (imperiled in Florida)
Federal/State Listing:     none
Element Occurrences:   4 (documented sub-populations)

Find out more about Florida’s rich butterfly fauna in the FNAI butterfly gallery.

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