Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 1/8 to 1 1/2 inches (3 - 3.8 cm).  The underside of the hindwing is pale brown with a postmedian band of dark brown oval spots rather than dashes.  The blue tail-spot is not topped with orange. There is one tail on the hindwing.

ID Tip: A band of white-ringed oval black spots on closed wing surface separates this from other hairstreaks. There is no orange on the blue spot near the tail.

Egg: Creamy pink, flattened disc laid singly or in very small groups at the base of saplings near specific ant colonies. Eggs are the overwintering stage.

Caterpillar: Dark brown with dark band and a series of pale dashes.  Late stage caterpillars eat at night and are tended by ants.  As daylight approaches, the ants herd caterpillars into their underground chambers where they spend the daylight hours. The ants receive sweet liquid from the caterpillars, which is produced by a special tentacle-shaped gland.

Chrysalis: Speckled brown.  Found in underground chambers (byres) of attending ants

Edwards' Hairstreaks occur in highly localized colonies.  They are known from only 2 records in Alabama. Their close resemblance to other hairstreaks in their genus (satyrium) and their short flight time makes them easy to overlook and misidentify. During late spring/early summer, small hairstreaks should be carefully examined to determine their identity--particularly near Alabama's eastern border where Edwards' have occurred.


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 High Count information shows the highest numbers recorded for this species as well as when and where they occurred.

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

  • 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
No Sightings recorded at this time.


Thickets and scrubs, roadsides, utility easements, trails that are located in or near oak woodlands

Host and Nectar Plants

Various oaks that include Black Jack Oak (Quercus marilandica) and Turkey Oak (Q. laevis) are used in North Carolina.

No host plant has yet been verified in Alabama.

For more information about the documented host plants and/or nectar plants, please visit the Alabama Plant Atlas using the following links:

Landscaping Ideas

If Edwards' Hairstreaks are in the area, they will be attracted to flowering plants like Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) and Common New Jersey Tea (Ceonanthus americanus), nectar-rich plants that bloom during the butterflies' flight period.

Including oaks in the landscape is beneficial to many butterfly species, including Edwards' Hairstreaks.