Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 5/8 - 2 3/4 inches (4.2 - 7 cm). Upperside is brown. Forewing has 2 orange cell bars and 2 eyespots. Hindwing has 2 eyespots; the upper one is larger and contains a magenta crescent. The underside of the hindwing is brown or tan in the wet season (summer) and rose-red in the dry season (fall). Females tend to be larger.  

ID Tip: Upperside displays striking, multicolored eyespots on forewings and hindwings.

Egg: Ribbed, small stubby green eggs are laid singly on host plant foliage. Often placed on the upper surface of the leaf.

Caterpillar: Black with lateral white stripes, orange patches and branched spines.

Chrysalis: Mottled pale brown or dark gray brown.  Rows of short conical projections on abdomen.  

Common Buckeyes are habitat generalists, requiring little more than open sunny areas and intermittent patches of ground for males to perch and establish territories. They are common throughout Alabama and will ultimately be documented in every county.

In Alabama, buckeyes are easy to identify because nothing else looks quite like them.  Yet, they are so variable in appearance that no two seem to look exactly alike.  All buckeyes sport large, showy eyespots, perhaps making them look like goggle-eyed monsters to potential predators.

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

Sightings in the following counties: Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Bullock, Butler, Calhoun, Chambers, Chambers , Cherokee, Chilton, Choctaw, Clarke, Clarke , Clay, Cleburne, Coffee, Colbert, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Dallas, DeKalb, Elmore, Escambia, Escambia , Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Geneva, Greene, Hale, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Limestone, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Madison , Marengo, Marion, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Perry, Perry , Pickens, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Washington, Wilcox, 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
3 2 9 3 16 1 9 18 13 78 81 80 107 72 81 102 126 137 77 72 51 98 44 81 30 106 235 229 441 133 247 307 249 396 128 70 96 42 25 41 10 2 13 6


A wide variety of open sunny habitats with patches of bare ground. 

Host and Nectar Plants

Various plants within the Acanthus, Figwort, and Plantain family are reported elsewhere. 

These host plants have been verified in Alabama: Purple Gerardia/Purple False Foxglove (Agalinis purpurea), Great Plantain/Common Plantain (Plantago major).

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

Landscaping Ideas

Buckeyes are avid nectarers. Including a variety of flowers such as Black Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia spp.), Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), Joe Pye Weeds (Eutrochium spp.), asters (Symphyotrichum spp.), ironweeds (Vernonia spp.), Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and Blue Mistflower/Wild Ageratum (Conoclinium coelestinum) in your landscape will provide food for butterflies like Common Buckeyes throughout the growing season.