Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan 1 1/2 to 2 inches (3.8-5.1 cm). The upperwings have a ground color of dark brown. A wide, golden- yellow band crosses the median portion of the forewing.  A small white patch is present along the costal margin near the forewing apex. Both the fore- and hindwings have a narrow border checkered with yellow and brown. The underwing surface of the forewing is marked similarly as that above except somewhat paler. The hindwing beneath is dark brown and crossed by two to three darker bands. The Golden Banded-Skipper differs from the similar Silver-spotted Skipper by lacking a white patch on the hindwings.

Egg: Females lay a short string of 2 to 7 yellow eggs at the base of the host plant leaves.

Caterpillar: The larvae are yellowish-green with numerous tiny yellow dots and a wide yellow lateral stripe. The head is reddish brown and has two round and yellow false eyespots on the lower portion of the facial region. The caterpillars construct a retreat by cutting a rectangular flap along the edge of a leaf and rolling it into a tubular refugium secured by silken strands. The caterpillar stays in the retreat during the daytime, but comes out at night to feed on the leaves.

Chrysalis: The chrysalis is dark brown with a greenish hue; it overwinters and adults emerge in the upcoming spring.

Males may be seen perching on the leaves of low growing shrubs. This skipper has a rapid and erratic flight pattern. It is a rather rare skipper in Alabama. Only two occurences have been documented in recent years. One was in Colbert County and the other in Calhoun County.

The Golden Banded-Skipper is distributed from southern Pennsylvania southward (mainly along the Appalachians) to South Carolina, westward to eastern Texas and western Oklahoma; northward to southern Missouri and eastward to southern Ohio. An isolated population occurs in northern Florida. The greatest abundance of this skipper occurs in the southwestern U. S., extending from central Arizona to southwest New Mexico, and west Texas to central Mexico. Alabama populations have been found only in northeastern Alabama.

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, Cleburne, Colbert, DeKalb

  • 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

The Golden Banded-Skipper prefers moist woodlands near permanent streams or wetlands.  It is best seen along dirt roads that run through ravines and well-shaded hillsides.  Males may be observed as they sip moisture and minerals from damp spots on the road. Or, they may be seen perching on the leaves of low growing shrubs. This skipper has a rapid and erratic flight pattern.

Host and Nectar Plants

In Alabama, host plants have not been documented for this skipper.

The southeastern population of Golden Banded Skippers was thought to feed exclusively on Hog Peanut (Amphicarpa bracteata). However, Thicket Bean (Phaseolus polystachios var. polystachios) has been verified as a host plant in Florida.

 

Landscaping Ideas

These rare butterflies are not typically attracted to landscaped areas.