Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1¼ - 1½ inches (3.5-3.9 cm) UPPER SURFACE (dorsal) Brown with pale wrist bracelet and transverse spot band on forewing. More distinct on females.  Hindwing faintly mirrors ventral hindwing dash.  Forewings somewhat elongated. Body striped. UNDER SURFACE (ventral) Light brown with yellow veins. Distinct white dash on hindwing

Egg: Dome shaped. Whitish when laid; develops rosy bloom in center.

Caterpillar: Green; dark line down back and pale-yellow stripe on sides. Head green with reddish tinge and faint reddish stripes. Collar indistinct.  First three pairs of legs (thoracic) pale.   

Chrysalis: Slender and green with pointed head.

Salt Marsh Skippers are well named--they are habitat specialists that require salt or brackish tidal marshes for survival.  Although during parts of the day they may wander short distances to find nectar sources like Creeping Frogfruit, Saltmarsh Fleabane, or Spanish Needles, they return to their briny habitat for reproductive activities.  Males perch on marsh grasses that often have their bases submerged in water. Females lay single eggs near the middle of host blade. Caterpillars live exposed (no shelters) on the host plant, initially eating from the edges.  Pupation also occurs on the blade, where the chrysalis rests on a bed of silk and is suspended by a silken girdle.  This small, dark brown skipper is readily identified by the distinct white dash on its ventral hindwing.

Salt Marsh Skippers are found in appropriate habitats along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, sometimes in sizable colonies. However, coastal marshes are being lost to rising sea levels and land development, and Salt Marsh Skipper populations may pay a stiff price.  In Alabama, these very specialized skippers are known only from Mobile and Baldwin counties. 

 

 

 

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 High Count information shows the highest numbers recorded for this species as well as when and where they occurred.

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: Baldwin, Mobile

  • Map Symbol for Recent Sightings Sightings in the past 5 years
  • Map Symbol for Semi-Recent Sightings Sightings in the past 5 - 10 years
  • Map Symbol for Old Sightings Sightings more than 10 years ago

High count(s):

  • 6 - Baldwin - 10/19/2019
  • 5 - Baldwin - 9/23/2021
  • 4 - Mobile - 8/12/2012
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
2 2 2 4 1 1 1 1 4 2 3 3 12 2 5 8

Habitat

Brackish and salt marshes.       

Salt Marsh Skipper
Salt Marsh Skipper (Panoquina panoquin)
County
© Sara Bright
Coastal wetland
Salt Marsh Skipper
Salt Marsh Skipper (Panoquina panoquin)
County
© Sara Bright
Salt marsh edge with cordgrass
Salt Marsh Skipper
Salt Marsh Skipper (Panoquina panoquin)
County
© Sara Bright
Coastal salt marsh with cordgrass

Host and Nectar Plants

Reports from nearby states list Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) and Saltmarsh Cordgrass (Sporobolus alternifolia)

In Alabama, the following has been confirmed.  Saltgrass may also be used.

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For more information about these plants, please visit the Alabama Plant Atlas using the links above.

Salt Marsh Skipper
Salt Marsh Skipper (Panoquina panoquin)
County
© Sara Bright
Saltmarsh Cordgrass
Salt Marsh Skipper
Salt Marsh Skipper (Panoquina panoquin)
County
© Sara Bright
Saltmarsh Cordgrass
Salt Marsh Skipper
Salt Marsh Skipper (Panoquina panoquin)
County
© Sara Bright
Saltmarsh Cordgrass
Salt Marsh Skipper
Salt Marsh Skipper (Panoquina panoquin)
County
© Sara Bright
Saltmarsh Cordgrass
Salt Marsh Skipper
Salt Marsh Skipper (Panoquina panoquin)
County
© Sara Bright
Saltmarsh Cordgrass

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