Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 - 1½  inches (2.5 - 3.8 cm).  Undersides are gray/brown.  Hindwing has a single red spot above the tail, a white spot along the margin, and a thin white line that forms an "M" in the moddle of the wing.  Male wing upperside is iridescent blue with broad black margins; female upperside has black with blue scaling at the wing bases.  There are 2 hindwing tails.

ID Tip: Thin white “M’ marking ventral hindwing. Dorsal wings contain iridescent blue.

Egg: Pale green, flattened discs laid singly on twigs and buds of host.

Caterpillar: Variable: dark green to pinkish.

Chrysalis:  Brown with darker blotches on abdomen.

White-M Hairstreaks look plain and brown when placidly nectaring, but when they fly, they deliver a flash of electric blue.  Their upperwing surface is covered with light reflecting scales that create structural, metallic brilliance.  These larger-than-average hairstreaks fly throughout much of the year but are seldom seen in large numbers. Perhaps White-Ms seem scarce because much of their time is spent high in the canopies of oak trees, their caterpillar food source. When nearby spring-and-summer flowering trees are blossoming, White-Ms have little reason to descend to the ground.  During late summer and fall, they are drawn to seasonal wildflowers and may be observed intently nectaring at goldenrods, snakeroots, and thoroughworts.

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

Sightings in the following counties: Baldwin, Bibb, Chilton, Cleburne, Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, Dallas, DeKalb, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Madison, Marengo, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Randolph, Shelby, Tuscaloosa, Washington

  • 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):

  • 7 - Colbert - 4/8/2017
  • 3 - Shelby - 3/30/2014
  • 3 - Baldwin - 6/23/2017
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 3 11 8 13 7 1 1 1 3 1 4 1 1 1 4 1 1 1 3 2 5 3 4 1 1 1


Oak woodlands, oak hammocks, scrub and adjacent areas.

Host and Nectar Plants

Various oaks (Quercus spp.) are reported, particularly Live Oak and White Oak.

Post Oak (Quercus stellata) has been documeted in Alabama but other oak species are almost certainly used as well.


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

White-M Hairstreak
White-M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album)
© Sara Bright
Flush of new growth on Oak

Landscaping Ideas