Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 3/8 - 2 inches (3.5 - 5.1 cm). The upperside is pale yellow-orange with dark borders and markings. The hindwing above and below has some white-centered submarginal spots; the hindwing underside is pale with a large white crescent at the edge.

ID Tip: At least one of the dark spots in the ventral hindwing has a white center.  The light band is broken with brown.

Egg: Small, creamy orbs laid in large clusters on underside of host plant leaves

Caterpillar: Dark brownish black with wide yellow/orange lateral band and several rows of black spines.  Black head. Caterpillars eat together in groups through several molts. Third instar larvae of the season's final brood overwinter and complete development the following spring. Mature caterpillars become more solitary. 

Chrysalis: White; mottled with black and brown markings. Projections on the abdomen may be tipped with orange.

Silvery Checkerspots were once known as “Streamside Checkerspots"; they form colonies in moist habitats where their host plants are prevalent.  Even though habitat and host plants seem to be common in Alabama, these butterflies are not.  For unknown reasons, Silvery Checkerspots have almost disappeared from the northeastern states.  Alabama’s populations should be carefully tracked and documented.

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, Blount, Bullock, Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, DeKalb, Elmore, Jackson, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Madison, Perry, Pickens, Shelby, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Winston

  • 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
1 2 7 19 68 62 1 1 2 11 5 38 111 3 6 6 27 160 26 5 1 1

Habitat

Open areas, usually near water

Host and Nectar Plants

Various sunflowers, rosinweeds, and ragweeds are reported throughout the range. These host plants ave been verified in Alabama: Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida), Eastern Purple Coneflower (Echinacae purpurea), White Crownbeard (Verbesina virginica), Three Lobe Coneflower/Brown Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba), and Bear's Foot (Smallanthus uvedalius).

 

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 Silvery Checkerspots are in the area, they may choose Purple Coneflower as their caterpillar host.  Several Alabama gardeners have reported finding Silvery Checkerspot caterpillars on their Purple Coneflowers, but in each instance, the coneflowers were near naturally occurring streams.  However, Purple Coneflower is a superb nectar plant for many butterflies and makes a wonderful addition to many landscapes. If Silvery Checkerspots should find it and deposit their eggs there, consider that an added bonus!