Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 15/16 - 1 1/8 inches (2.4 - 2.9 cm). The upperside of the male is powdery blue, often with ill-defined white patches on the hindwing. Females have much white scaling on both forewings and hindwings. The underside of the hindwing is pale gray or white with small black dots and a dark zigzag line.

ID Tip: Closed wings are whitish to pale gray.  Open wings are blue rather than violet, which is visible in flight. Typically larger than Spring Azures and not as heavily marked.

Egg: Blue-green, flattened disc.

Caterpillar: Variable in color: green, to pinkish green with a dorsal line and pale bands on each segment of the back.

Chrysalis: Light, golden brown.  It is the overwintering stage.

The Latin name “neglecta” is appropriate for these butterflies. For more than one hundred years, Summer Azures were overlooked as a species—considered only a seasonal form of Spring Azure.  Not until 1995 were look-alike Spring and Summer Azures recognized as different entities. 

Summer Azures are multibrooded.  Their common name is confusing because current research indicates that in some parts of their range they produce a spring brood that is on the wing even before Spring Azures.  In Alabama, much remains to be learned about the actual distribution and flight times of this common but little understood butterfly.  Keep in mind that historic records did not recognize this species, and that even armed with knowledge of its existence, identification of the spring brood is often difficult.

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: Baldwin, Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Chambers , Cherokee, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Covington, Cullman, Dallas, DeKalb, Escambia, Franklin, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lawrence, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Perry , Pickens, Shelby, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Winston

  • 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
2 3 18 75 126 138 183 303 100 73 31 59 26 60 27 15 25 13 79 27 12 5 54 1

Habitat

In or near deciduous woodlands. Generally inhabits more open areas than other azure species. Reportedly frequents human-inhabited areas more often than Spring Azures do.

Host and Nectar Plants

Many host plants are reported in other areas.

These host plants have been verified in Alabama: Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), Swamp Dogwood (Cornus stricta), Common Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia).

Summer Azures have also been observed ovipositing on Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata), and Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus drummondii) but it is not known whether the larvae were able to survive on these plants.

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

Landscaping Ideas

The addition of dogwoods to the landscape provides caterpillar food for Summer and Spring Azures.  They will also nectar on its tiny true flowers.