Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 inches (3.2 - 4.5 cm). The upperside is orange with black markings; the hindwing has a row of solid black spots. Closed wings have a zigzag pattern of brown and white bands and a median band of white chevrons on the hindwings.

ID Tip: Zigzag pattern of brown and white bands on undersurface of hindwing

Egg: Pale creamy green.  Laid in clusters on underside of host plant leaves.

Caterpillar: Yellow orange with wide black stripes and black branching spines.  The head is black. Young caterpillars feed in groups.  Partially grown larvae overwinter.

Chrysalis: Gray brown

Records from the 1950s indicate that Gorgone Checkerspots were found in Calhoun and Cleburne County. There have been no documented sightings since.  These butterflies are adapted to early succession landscapes.  As succession progresses, they move on to other disturbed areas.  In central Georgia, Gorgone Checkerspots produce two, possibly three broods per year.  They fly in late April/May and again in midsummer.  A powerline cut provides the appropriate habitat, and Giant Sunflower (Helianthus giganteus) is the host plant. 

No host plant has yet been established in Alabama. Although Gorgone Checkerspots are not known to be tied to merely one host plant species, according to the Alabama Plant Atlas, Giant Sunflower occurs in Calhoun County, one of two counties where Gorgones have been recorded. Pearl Crescents should be carefully verified to make sure that they are not elusive Gorgones, particularly in eastern Alabama.

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: Calhoun, Cleburne

  • 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
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Habitat

Typically open areas, particularly disturbed and early succession sites.

Host and Nectar Plants

Various sunflowers (Helianthus spp.) are reported. In central Georgia, Giant Sunflower (Helianthus giganteus) has been verified.

No host plant has been established in Alabama. Note: Although Gorgone Checkerspots are not known to be tied to merely one host plant species, according to the Alabama Plant Atlas, Giant Sunflower occurs in Calhoun County, one of two counties where Gorgones have been recorded.