Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 - 1½ inches (2.9 - 3.9 cm) UPPER SURFACE (dorsal) Male bright orange with dark, wavy border. Dark markings near tip often form "S" shape.  Female similar but less orange.  Female ('Pocahontas" form) dark with purplish wash.  Markings very sparse and pale. UNDER SURFACE (ventral) Normal form hindwing brown with large blocky golden patch and one tiny golden dot; lavender frosting on both wings. 'Pocahontas" form dark purplish brown with dark scales that partially conceal hindwing patch.

Egg: Dome shaped. White.

Caterpillar: Pale brown to greenish with pinkish hue; covered with fine short hairs, giving a velvety appearance. Head dark. Collar white with thin black ring. First three pairs of legs (thoracic) light brown. Partially grown caterpillars overwinter.

Chrysalis: Dirty white, becoming pink toward thorax. May be covered with covered with white, powdery down. 

Hobomok Skippers are northern-based butterflies whose range extends south. Their close cousins, Zabulon Skippers, are southern-based butterflies whose range extends north.  These similar species were once called Northern Golden Skipper and Southern Golden Skipper and can easily be confused with each other in sites where both fly. Although ventral hindwing markings are different, Hobomoks and Zabulons tend to perch with their wings partly spread, making viewing the crucial field marks frustratingly difficult. In addition, the two species occur in similar habitats.  For specific information about how to identify Hobomok Skippers, click the "Get Identification Help" link above. 

Females of this handsome species have two distinct color forms. The lighter one resembles the male, while the darker form (called “Pocahontas”) resembles female Zabulon Skippers. It is estimated that dark form females occur 25%-50% in the East. 

Hobomok Skippers are woodland butterflies, and although they may wander in search of nectar sources, they seldom stray far from forested areas. Males perch on branches five or six feet above the ground and aggressively defend their territories— “dogfights” are common. Females lay single eggs on host grass blades.  Caterpillars live in rolled leaf shelters and usually eat at night.  Partially grown larvae overwinter in a tightly silked tubular shelter.  They complete development the following spring.

Hobomok Skippers range over much of the eastern and central United States, reaching northward into Canada.  This northern-based species reaches its southernmost limits in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. It is possible that it may experience range contraction due to climate change.

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: Bibb, Calhoun, Cleburne, Colbert, DeKalb, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison

  • 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):

  • 19 - DeKalb - 5/10/2014
  • 10 - Jackson - 5/12/2001
  • 5 - DeKalb - 5/15/2010
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 1 1 5 11 69 7 8 1


Open spaces in and bordering deciduous forests including dirt road, fields, stream edges, parks, gardens, and damp meadows, often at higher elevations.

Host and Nectar Plants

Reports from nearby states list panic grasses (Panicum spp.) and bluegrasses (Poa spp.). Orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata) and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) were observed in Connecticut.

In Alabama, host plants have not yet been documented.



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