Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly:  Wingspan: 1 - 1½ inches (2.6 - 3.9 cm). The Little Glassywing is a dark blackish-brown, medium-sized skipper.  It has whitish, translucent spots on both upper- and undersides of the forewing. The hindwing below has a faint row of pale spots. The underside of the hindwing often has a purplish sheen. Males and females are similarly colored with one exception: the largest central spot found below the end of the black stigma of the male is elongated; the same spot on the female is square. There is a distinctive white patch just below the antennal club in both sexes. The wing fringes are buff colored.

Egg: Little Glassywing females deposit their eggs on leaves of host grasses.  The egg is hemispherical in shape and white when laid, but turns green before hatching.

Caterpillar: Tan or green. Speckled with numerous tiny brown tubercles, each with a short light colored hair.  Dark dorsal stripe extends down middorsum along with 2 to 3 lateral stripes. Head dark reddish brown; rimmed with black along posterior margin. 

Chrysalis: Greenish-cream with dark dots. Blackish on front and rear.  Wing veins brown.

Males perch on low, sunlit vegetation in open areas where they wait for females to pass by, at which time they dart out and try to entice them to mate. Mating occurs around midday. Males may also be seen sipping moisture and nutrients from patches of bare, damp soil.

The Little Glassywing has been documented in several counties across the State of Alabama. It likely will be eventually documented in all counties. This small skipper is distributed from central New England states west to Nebraska; south to east Texas, and eastward along the Gulf coastal states to northern Florida.

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, Blount, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Choctaw, Cleburne, Colbert, Coosa, Dallas, DeKalb, Elmore, Escambia, Geneva, Greene, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Limestone, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Marengo, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker, 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):

  • 20 - Sumter - 9/14/2022
  • 16 - Colbert - 8/1/2015
  • 15 - Sumter - 9/7/2021
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 1 14 39 68 32 21 7 12 1 2 6 19 43 141 108 52 26 35 26 29 17 11 8 6 1 1


The Little Glassywing prefers moist areas near shaded woodlands where it may be seen feeding on nearby flowers.

Little Glassywing
Little Glassywing (Vernia verna)
© Sara Bright
Sunny field with nectar

Host and Nectar Plants

In Alabama, the host plants have not yet been documented.

In nearby states, the Little Glassywing feeds on the leaves of Purple Top (Tridens flavus), a grass. Other grasses may also be used.

Little Glassywings sip nectar from a wide-variety of flowering plants.      


Landscaping Ideas

Provide a variety of garden worthy, nectar-rich flowers to attract butterflies like the Little Glasswing. These include: Butterfly Milkweed and other milkweeds; Purple Coneflower and other coneflowers; black eyed susans; phloxes; mountain mints; Common Buttonbush; Joe Pye weeds; gayfeathers/blazing stars; Mistflower; ironweeds; asters; and goldenrods.

If you have a lawn in your landscape, consider letting it be natural.  The diverse assemblage of native and nonnative flowering plants and grasses typically found in naturalized lawns provides nectar and host sources for many small butterflies including Little Glassywings.