Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 3/4-1 1/4 inches (1.9-3.2 cm). Underwing surfaces are brown with extensive gray frosting along the outer margins.  The frosted area contains a distinct single black spot near the short, stubby tail.  Upper surfaces are rarely seen. but are dark brown.  Males have a stigma patch (phermone-producing scent scales) on the forewing.

ID Tip: Broad ventral hindwing frosting with black spot near tail

Egg: Whitish, flattened disc.  Laid singly on host plant, often on buds.

Caterpillar: Blue-green with pale white dashes and a white lateral stripe

Chrysalis: Dark brown, pellet-shaped, and covered with short brownish orange hairs. It is the overwintering stage.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is assessing the conservation status of the Frosted Elfin to determine whether or not the species warrants federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Frosted Elfins are rare throughout their range.  Populations have plummeted in the last 50 years. We know of only one record of Frosted Elfin within the state.  That specimen was collected in Tuscaloosa County during the 1950s and is currently housed at the Alabama Museum of Natural History. In Florida, lupine-eating populations occur only miles from the state line.  Diligent searches of appropriate habitat in Alabama will occur during 2019. 


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 High Count information shows the highest numbers recorded for this species as well as when and where they occurred.

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

  • Map Symbol for Recent Sightings Sightings in the past 5 years
  • Map Symbol for Semi-Recent Sightings Sightings in the past 5 - 10 years
  • Map Symbol for Old Sightings 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
No Sightings recorded at this time.


Typically, clearings in dry oak woods (especially sandhills) but not known in Alabama.

Host and Nectar Plants

Lupines (Lupinus spp.) and wild indigos (Baptisia spp.) are reported in other areas. 

No host has yet been verified for Alabama, but Sundial Lupine (Lupinus perennis) is the host in the Florida Panhandle.  If you know where populations of Sundial Lupine occur in Alabama, please contact us at

Frosted Elfin
Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus)
© Sara Bright
Sundial Lupine