Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches (3.2 - 3.9 cm). Upperside of male is all blue. Females are without much white scaling on hindwing. Underside of hindwing is mostly chalky white with submarginal row reduced to 1 or 3 distinct black spots. Appalachian Azures are typically the largest blues, although in the field, size differences are hard to determine.

ID Tip: Underside of wings is pale.  Open wings are blue rather than violet. Typically, Appalachians are the largest of the azures. Look for host plant to aid in identification.

Egg: Blue-green. Flattened disc shape. Typically placed on or near developing flower buds of host plant.

Caterpillar: Blends with various colors of Black Cohosh flowers, ranging from white to reddish brown. Usually tended by ants.

Chrysalis:  Light reddish brown to yellow brown with small dark brown spots. The overwintering stage.

Appalachian Azures and Common Black Cohosh, their only host plant, are found on shady, moist hillsides within mountain cove forests.  The butterflies produce only one generation per year and usually fly after Spring Azures but before Summer Azures are common.

The best way to find Appalachian Azures is to search for the host plant in the appropriate habitat. That is how Sara Bright and Paulette Ogard found them at the Dismals in Jackson County and documented them for the state of Alabama.  Butterflies are usually on the wing when flower buds are tiny and cob-like.  By the time flowers stalks are in bloom, caterpillars are often well on the way to maturity. In order to see butterflies, searchers may need to locate the plants and/or caterpillars one year and return early the following year to see the adults.

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: Jackson

  • 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

Rich hardwood forests that support Common Black-Cohosh, the only known caterpillar host.

Host and Nectar Plants

Common Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa) is the only reported host plant and it has been verified in Alabama.

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

Landscaping Ideas

If Appalachian Azures are in the area, the addition of Common Black Cohosh to the woodland garden may draw them in.