Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan is 1 to 1 ¼ inches (2.5-3.2 cm). The underside of the wings is pale olive-brown with a crescent band of faint light spots in the postmedial region of the hindwing.  The hindwing spots on females may be very pale to absent.  The  upperside of the forewing in the male is olive-brown with a tawny-orange cell and costal area and three or four light beige spots in the postmedial area.

Egg: Females deposit their pale green, hemispheric-shaped eggs singly on the host plant. 

Caterpillar: The caterpillar is brown (sometimes with a pinkish hue) with numerous minute white specks.  The head is round and black.  The caterpillar constructs a shelter of grass blades held together by strands of silk.  They drag cut leaves into the shelter. The third and fourth instars in the fall overwinter in grass leaf shelters, and pupate in the following spring..

Chrysalis: Descriptions of this pupal stage could not be found in the literature.

The Crossline Skipper has a low, rapid flight and often stops to rest on low vegetation, short grass, or bare soil.  It may also be seen as it sips moisture and nutrients from damp areas along dirt roads or other open areas.  The species is found in drier areas than its closely related species, the Tawny-edged Skipper, which prefers damp habitats.

This skipper is widely distributed from New England west to Montana, south to New Mexico and east to Georgia. In Alabama, the Crossline Skipper has been documented only in the northern one-half of the state.

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, Bibb, Cleburne, Colbert, DeKalb, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Marshall, Perry , Shelby, Tallapoosa

  • Sightings in the past 5 years
  • Sightings in the past 5 - 10 years
  • Sightings more than 10 years ago
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 2 13 7 6 3 8 1 1 2 2 16 1 7 11

Habitat

The Crossline Skipper is found in dry open areas near forest edges, clearings within woodlands, meadows, pastures, and utility right-of-ways.  The species may also be found in suburban areas including lawns and flower gardens.

Host and Nectar Plants

Host plants for the Crossline Skipper have not yet been documented for Alabama.

In nearby states, the larvae reportedly feed on grasses such as mannagrasses (Glyceria spp.), bluegrasses (Poa spp.), Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparius), and Purple Top (Tridens flavus).

Crossline Skippers sip nectar from a wide-variety of flowering plants.

Landscaping Ideas

Provide a variety of garden worthy, nectar-rich flowers to attract butterflies like the Crossline Skipper. 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.

If you have a lawn in your landscape, consider letting it be natural.  The diverse assemblage of native and nonnative flowering plants and grasses typically found in naturalized lawns provides nectar and host sources for many small butterflies including Crossline Skippers.