Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan 1 ½ to 1 ¾ inches (3.8 – 4.4 cm). The upperside of both wings has a ground color of dark brown.  The central portion of the forewing is crossed by a band formed by 4 or 5 translucent, squarish, golden spots. The outer margin of the hindwing is checkered, but mainly white. The underside of the hindwing has a very diagnostic color pattern: it is banded with black and brown at the base while the outer one-half of the wing is heavily frosted (hoary) with white.This distinguishes it from the simiilar Silver-spotted Skipper.

Egg:  Females lay off-white eggs singly under the leaflets of the host plant, usually a legume.

Caterpillar: The green caterpillar has a blue dorsal stripe and a thin orange lateral stripe. The body is profusely covered with minute yellow speckles. The head is black and lacks facial spots.

Chrysalis: The light brown chrysalis has both dark and yellowish patches.

Male Hoary Edges perch along the edges of sunny woodland roads or in forest openings.  They usually perch on bare ground, or on a twig or leaf about three to six feet off the ground. They readily sip moisture and minerals from damp soil. Hoary Edges are territorial and readily chase away any intruding insect, but immediately return to their home-base perch. They have a very rapid flight.

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: Bibb, Calhoun, Chilton, Choctaw, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Coosa, Dallas, DeKalb, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lee, Madison, Monroe, Perry, Perry , Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker

  • 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
6 8 19 31 35 36 39 19 25 5 11 32 32 33 24 53 10 16 3 2

Habitat

Sunny woodland roads or in forest openings.  They seem to prefer oak or pine woods with sandy soil. They may also be found along dirt roads that run through wooded areas. 

Host and Nectar Plants

In Alabama, Spiked Hoary Pea (Tephrosia spicata) has been documented.

In nearby states, the larvae are reported to feed on the leaves of several species in the pea family (Fabaceae) which include lespedezas (Lespedeza spp.), tick trefoils (Desmodium spp.), and Wild Indigo (Baptisia tinctoria).

Hoary Edges nectar from a variety of flowers.

 

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

Landscaping Ideas

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