Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan is 1 1/4 - 2 1/4 inches (3.2 - 5.7 cm). This skipper is larger than most grass skippers, with broad, rounded wings. Hindwing undersides are dull orangish-brown with discrete rectangular patches of orange. One long orange patch on this wing extends from the wing base and is crossed by another short orange patch, giving the appearance of a cross.

Egg: Pale white aggs are laid singly.

Caterpillar: Pale greenish body. Head is light brown with two black spots and a black line. Young caterpillars live in tube-like shelters on leaves; older caterpillars construct shelters.  Partially-grown larvae overwinter.

Chrysalis

In Alabama, this skipper was documented at Chickasaw, Mobile County during 2011 and in Marshall County in 2015.

Elsewhere, it occurs in salt and brackish marshes from coastal Maine to north Florida; then around Gulf coastal states to east Texas. A few disjunct inland populations inhabit freshwater marshes.

Males may be seen fluttering in and about large, tall  stands of its host plants.

Distribution and Abundance

A dot on the county map indicates that there is at least one documented record of the species within that county. In some cases, a species may be common throughout the county, in others it may be found in only a specific habitat.

The sightings bar graphs depict the timing of flight(s) within each of three geographic regions. Place your cursor on a bar within the graph to see the number of individuals recorded during that period.

The abundance calendar displays the total number of individuals recorded within each week of the month. Both the graphs and the calendar are on based data collection that began in 2000.

The records analyzed here are only a beginning. As more data is collected, these maps and graphs will paint a more accurate picture of distribution and abundance in Alabama. Submit your sightings to albutterflyatlas@gmail.com.

Sightings in the following counties: Baldwin, Barbour, Marshall, Mobile

  • Sightings in the past 5 years
  • Sightings in the past 5 - 10 years
  • Sightings more than 10 years ago
County Distribution Map

View county names by moving the mouse over a county or view a map with county names

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 2 1 2 2 2 9 1 1 1 1 13 1

Habitat

Associated mainly with coastal salt marshes with tall grasses, but may be found in freshwater marshes more inland. It often wanders into nearby gardens, meadows, roadsides, etc., to nectar.

Host and Nectar Plants

No host has been documented in Alabama.

In other states, larvae eat leaves of Giant Reed (Phragmites communis), Wild Rice (Zizantia aquatica), Big Cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides), and Marsh Millet (Zizantopsis miliacea). In Inland marshes, Carex sedges are reportedly used as host plants.

 

Landscaping Ideas

Broad-winged Skippers sometimes wander into gardens. Provide a variety of garden worthy, nectar-rich flowers to attract them and many other butterfly species. These include: Butterfly Milkweed and other milkweeds; Purple Coneflower and other coneflowers; black eyed susans; phloxes; mountain mints; Common Buttonbush; Joe Pye weeds; gayfeathers/blazing stars; Mistflower; ironweeds; asters; and goldenrods.