Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly:  Wingspan: 1¼ - 1¾ inches (3.3 - 5.0 cm). The Southern Cloudywing is a medium-sized brown skipper. The upperside has several whitish, hyaline (glassy) spots on the outer-half of the forewing. These spots are more in alignment than those in the Northern Cloudywing (T. pylades).  The wing fringe is light buff to gray and checkered. The underside of the hindwing has 2 parallel dark brown bands crossing the central portion of the wing. The outer margin of the hindwing is weakly frosted.

Egg: Females deposit a single light green egg on a leaf of the host plant (a legume).

Caterpillar: The caterpillar is light green but turns pinkish with dark green speckling.  A thin pale orange lateral stripe extends the length of the body.  The head is black, covered with short golden hairs, and lacks facial spots. The caterpillar constructs a leaf shelter/retreat by rolling leaves together to form a tube and securing it with silken threads. Fully grown larvae overwinter

Chrysalis:  Pupation takes place in the spring within a moss-brown colored chrysalis.

This skipper has a strong, erratic flight but stops periodically to nectar. Males perch on low vegetation often with their wings partially open. When intruders enter their territory, they dart out aggressively in an attempt to chase them away before returning again to their original perch.

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, Bullock, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Clarke, Cleburne, Colbert, Covington, Dallas, DeKalb, Elmore, Escambia, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Macon, Madison, Marengo, Marion, Perry, Pickens, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Washington, Wilcox, Winston

  • 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):

  • 36 - Cleburne - 7/16/2020
  • 36 - Cleburne - 8/2/2021
  • 20 - Cleburne - 7/24/2018
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 18 16 23 24 30 22 60 11 20 24 12 7 27 27 41 89 100 62 33 23 30 8 18 1 2


The Southern Cloudywing may be found in a wide variety of habitats including forest edges, disturbed sites, utility line right-of-ways, roadsides, old fields, suburban flower gardens, dry meadows, and burned-over open areas.

Host and Nectar Plants

In nearby states, it is reported that larvae feed on leaves of various legumes including clovers (Trifolium spp.), lespedezas (Lespedeza spp.), tick trefoils (Desmodium sp.), milkvetches (Astragulus spp), fuzzybeans (Strophostyles spp.), wild beans (Glycine spp.), and Butterfly Pea (Clitoria mariana).

In Alabama, these host plants have been documented:


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

Southern Cloudywing
Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus)
© Eric Powell
Lespedeza hirta
Southern Cloudywing
Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus)
© Eric Powell
Lespedeza hirta
Southern Cloudywing
Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus)
© Sara Bright
Tick Trefoill

Landscaping Ideas

Provide a variety of garden worthy, nectar-rich flowers to attract butterflies like the Southern Cloudywing. 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.