Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 3/8 - 2 inches (3.5 - 5 cm). Upperside is brown; forewing has orange at base and inner margin, and white spots on outer half. Underside of hindwing is mottled or smooth violet-gray.  The palps that form the snout are long and extended forward. The forewing tip is squared off. This is the overwintering stage.

ID Tip: Look for elongated ”snout” or palps and squared forewing tips.

Egg: Tiny, white, and round.  Laid singly on host, often on new leaf tips.

Caterpillar: Light green "worm" with numerous small yellow dots and a yellow lateral stripe.  Two small black dots located below the head look like eyes, enabling this caterpillar to mimic a small snake. It heightens the effect by arching its body and tucking its head when alarmed.

Chrysalis: Green. Often suspended from the underside of a hackberry leaf where it is highly camouflaged due to coloration and pattern.

No other butterfly has a “snout” like this one.  The adaptive purpose of its remarkable elongated snout (or “palps”) has long been questioned.  Perhaps it simply enables the butterfly to impersonate a dry leaf, complete with upturned stem or petiole. The effect is enhanced by the forward placement of the antennae. Snouts are so cryptically colored and shaped that they may be missed by butterfly enthusiasts.

In addition to camouflage, Snouts use startle tactics to aid in defense against vertebrate predators.  Perched Snouts may resemble dried leaves but by quickly raising their forewings, the butterflies flash attackers with a startling flash of orange.

Late fall adults enter diapause during winter months and resume activity the following spring--as early as mid-February in some parts of Alabama.  American Snouts are expected to occur in every county in our state.

Snouts are often seen flying around hackberry trees, their host plant. They are occasionally encountered nectaring from flowers, and they avidly seek salts and minerals by puddling.  They also often seek these substances on perspiring skin!

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: Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Chambers, Chambers , Chilton, Cleburne, Coffee, Colbert, Coosa, Covington, Dallas, DeKalb, Elmore, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lawrence, Limestone, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Marengo, Marion, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Perry, Perry , Pickens, Shelby, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Wilcox

  • 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 5 18 8 19 39 8 24 17 64 37 134 43 41 77 17 63 37 72 17 31 20 11 14 12 12 55 13 27 2 8 5 2 7 4 1

Habitat

Deciduous woodlands and woodland edges.

Host and Nectar Plants

Various hackberries (Celtis spp.) are used throughout its range.

This host plant has been verified in Alabama: Sugarberry/Southern Hackberry (Celtis laevigata).

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

Landscaping Ideas

Including hackberry trees in the landscape provides caterpillar food for at least 6 butterfly species, including American Snout.