Butterfly: Wingspan is 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 inches (57 -71 mm). This skipper is very large and robust relative to most Alabama skippers. It could be confused by the butterfly novice with the common and similarly-sized Silver-spotted Skipper. But the Mercurial Skipper is very unique among Alabama skippers as its head and thorax are golden orange above. The forewing is elongated. The wing uppersides are orange basally. The undersides of the wings vary from light brown to beige with white frosting on the outer margins. The hindwing is variable but often has a white mark in its center.
Egg: Not described for Alabama, or in the literature.
Caterpillar: Not yet documented for Alabama. Others have described the larval body as being green or golden yellow and mottled with dark brown. Red stripes course down the sides of the body. The head is reddish-brown with red eyespots. During the daytime the caterpillars remain in a leaf shelter but come out at night to feed on leaves of their host plant.
Chrysalis: Not described for Alabama, or in the literature.
This is not a native Alabama butterfly. Its normal distribution is tropical to subtropical as it ranges from Cuba, West Indies islands, Mexico, Argentina, southern Texas, southern Arizona, and central Florida. In Alabama, it is known only from a single specimen photographed by Michelle Miklik and placed on the Butterflies of Alabama Facebook Group page. It was documented at Cane Creek Garden, Anniston, Calhoun Co., AL, on June 26, 2017. This surprising skipper appeared just after a significant tropical storm had traversed the state of Alabama. Some experts believe that this species could have been blown in ahead of this storm.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sightings in the following counties: Calhoun
Not documented for Alabama yet. Elsewhere in Florida, it is found in gardens and lowland tropical and subtropical woodlands near streams.
Host and nectar plants have not yet been documented for Alabama. Elsewhere its host plants are trees and vine legumes such as senna (Cassia) and cow pea (Vigna). It nectars on a wide variety of flowers including Lippia sp. and others that grow on damp ground.