Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 to 1 1/2 inches (2.5-3.8 cm). Underwing surfaces are gray brown with two short hindwing tails.  There is a row of distinct dashes edged in white across both wings.  A large blue hindwing patch is capped in orange, and there is an orange-capped black spot near the tail. Upper surfaces are seldom seen, but are uniformly brown.

ID Tip: Prominently orange-capped blue patch on ventral hindwng.  Central dash on ventral forewing is offset and breaks the line of dashes.

Egg: Flattened brownish discs are laid singly or in small groups on host plant. The egg is the overwintering stage

Caterpillar: Green with light greenish-white stripes. Bores into host buds and also eats young leaves.

Chrysalis: Creamy; dusted with black speckles. Pellet-shaped.

Diligent searchers may spot a triangular King’s Hairstreak silhouette as it perches in a patch of sunlight on its host plant Horse Sugar's droopy leaves.  Long considered rare and reclusive, King’s Hairstreaks may not be so uncommon in their preferred habitats.  Perhaps they are like Horse Sugar, which, according to beloved Alabama botanist Blanche E. Dean, “grows over most of Alabama but does not seem to be well known.”

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 following counties: Baldwin, Bibb, Cleburne, Shelby, Tallapoosa

  • Map Symbol for Recent Sightings Sightings in the past 5 years
  • Map Symbol for Semi-Recent Sightings Sightings in the past 5 - 10 years
  • Map Symbol for Old Sightings Sightings more than 10 years ago

High count(s):

  • 2 - Shelby - 5/27/2006
  • 1 - Baldwin - 5/1/2017
  • 1 - Bibb - 5/20/2017
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
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Hardwood forests, stream margins, and wooded swamps.  Tied closely to host plant.

Host and Nectar Plants

Horse Sugar/Sweet Leaf (Symplocos tinctoria) is the only known host plant throughout the range and has been documented in Alabama.

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

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