Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1¼ - 1½ inches (3.2 - 3.8 cm). Drab brown butterflies that are virtually indistinguishable from Carolina Satyrs in the field.  Differences in genitalia and DNA sequencing are diagnostic.

ID Tip: The upper surface of the forewing is typically uniformly brown, while Carolina Satyrs often exhibit a darker hue near the body.  On the outer surface of Carolina Satyr's hindwing, the outer (postmedian) line often bulges toward the body while Intricate Satyr's tends to be straight.  However, these field marks should be considered helpful but not diagnostic. 

Egg: Pale green when laid. Hemispherical.

Caterpillar: Very similar to Carolina Satyr.  To date, the only reported difference is a slight variation in overall color: Intricate Satyr caterpillars are yellow-green while Carolina Satyr caterpillars tend to be a bluer green.  There is a pronounced mid-dorsal stripe, several faint longitudinal stripes, and a slightly forked tail. The head lacks horns and is darker than the body.  The larva is the overwintering stage.

Chrysalis: Very similar to Carolina Satyr. The only reported difference is the absence of a dark abdominal spot on the wing area that is present in Carolina Satyr. 

Intricate Satyrs were discovered by accident in 2014 during DNA sequencing of Carolina Satyrs.  This newly described species flies with and has been combined with the very common Carolina Satyr for more than two hundred years. The two species differ strongly in both male and female genitalia, but no reliable wing pattern differences have been determined. (See "ID Tip" above). The species name "Intricate" refers to the difficulty in recognizing this very distinct species and its intricate ventral wing patterns.

Initially discovered in Brazos Bend State Park in East Texas, Intricate Satyrs are thought to be widely distributed in the eastern U.S. In fact, photographs of Intricate and Carolina Satyrs taken in Alabama by Vitaly Charny were used in articles annnouncing the find.

For more information about the discovery of this cryptic species:

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, Cleburne, Coosa, Dallas, Escambia, Hale, Jefferson, Macon, Marshall, Monroe, Perry, Shelby, Walker

  • 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):

  • 21 - Blount - 9/1/2017
  • 8 - Hale - 8/6/2016
  • 8 - Hale - 6/15/2019
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 3 17 1 2 1 2 10 10 1 13 22 1 3 1 2 1


Flies with Carolina Satyrs in shady woodlands.

Host and Nectar Plants

Observations from South Carolina indicate that rossette-type  grasses (Dicantheliums) are primary hosts plants there.

No host plant has been verified in Alabama

Landscaping Ideas