Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: 2.75-3.4” (7.0-8.6 cm). The largest southeastern sulphur. Females are larger than males. Open wings (Dorsal):  Males are bright yellow with a bright orange bar. The hindwing is yellow with orange edges.  Females may be golden-yellow or creamy white.  Summer-form females are creamy white with narrow dark borders.  Winter-form females are yellow: the outer edge of the hindwing is suffused with orange/red. There are conspicuous dark spots on her dorsal-wing edges. Females lack the orange bar.

Closed wings (Ventral): Male is bright yellow with small dark spots.  Summer-form female is orange yellow with fine dark mottling. Winter-form female is more heavily marked.

Egg: Initially, a white spindle laid singly on new growth of host. Turns yellow. 

Caterpillar: Typically green tinged with yellow. A chain of black triangles lines the sides. There are many very short, black spines.  There is also a yellow form with black patches on the sides.  Caterpillars that eat leaves are green while those that eat flowers become yellow.

Chrysalis: May be light blue-green with a yellow lateral line on the abdomen and a dark green mid-dorsal line.  Wing veins are pale.  Or may be a light purple/rose color mottled with white and yellow.  Wing veins are yellow.

Orange-barred Sulphurs became established in Florida in the late 1920’s and have become common residents.  They fly year-round in south Florida and spread north each year, but they are uncommon in the Panhandle. Although these sulphurs are less migratory than Cloudless Sulphurs, there are numerous records throughout the eastern United States.  Alabama’s documented sighting occurred on December 2, 2013 when both Patsy Russo and Ben Garmon photographed a winter-form female on Dauphin Island.   

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: 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
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Habitat

Open habitats including urban and disturbed areas. 

Host and Nectar Plants

Various woody sennas (Senna spp.) are used in Florida. 

No host plant has been documented in Alabama.