Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 7/8 to 1 1/4 inches (2.2-3.2 cm). Under surfaces of wings are various shades of brown, including rich mahogany.  Outer portions are lighter.  Upper surfaces are also brown. Males have a dark stigma patch on the forewing.  There are no tails.

ID Tip: Small and plain; no frosting or tails.

Egg: Whitish, flattened disc shape.  Usually tucked into buds of host.

Caterpillar:  Yellow green with pale yellow dashes and a yellow lateral stripe. 

Chrysalis: Brown and pellet-shaped. Generally rests in the leaf litter. The chrysalis is the overwintering stage.

Brown Elfins are Alabama’s plainest elfins—not tails or frostings decorate the wings.  They have only a brief spring flight and seldom wander far from their hosts. They generally stay close to the ground and nectar from a variety of small, spring-blooming flowers.

In 2009, Brown Elfins' known range extended only into north Georgia, and one historic record placed them in north Alabama:  it was shocking news when they were discovered in Florida's Panhandle, roughly 200 miles further south.  Wayne Barger and Brian Holt found and documented Brown Elfins in Alabama's Red Hills in 2012. Vitaly Charny found a population at Tannehill State Park shortly after.  

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: Colbert, Monroe, Tuscaloosa

  • 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
17 2 1

Habitat

Acidic woodlands

Host and Nectar Plants

Plants in the Heath family are reported including blueberries (Vaccineum spp.), huckleberries (Gaylussacia spp.) and Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens). 

This host plant has been verified in Alabama: Mountain Laurel  (Kalmia latifolia).

Brown Elfins nectar from a variety of small, spring-blooming flowers.

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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