Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly:  Wingspan: 1½ - 1¾ inches (3.9- 4.5cm).  Forewings are very elongated. Males are bright orange above and below; the upperside of the hindwing has a narrow black border on the outer margin. Females are paler orange, with more black markings above.

Egg: Eggs are golden yellow. Shape is bullet-like.  Texture is ribbed.

Caterpillar: The body is long and slender with white spots or lines that run along the side of a black background.  There are rows of long, black, branched spines.  The head is orange or reddish-orange with large black, eye-like patches and two long horns on top.

Chrysalis:  Grayish-brown, often with white mottling or splotches. Head and wing case area clearly visible. Hangs from a cremaster. Resembles a furled, dead leaf. 

Julia Heliconian is a very rare stray in Alabama.  There has been only one documented sighting.

This species is resident in south Florida,and south Texas, Brazil north through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies. 

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: 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):

  • 2 - Madison - 9/2/2021
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


In Florida, subtropical hammocks, thickets, and disturbed area.

Host and Nectar Plants

Passionflowers (Passiflora spp.) are Julia Heliconian's sole caterpillar food.  No host has been dcumented in Alabama.

Julia Heliconian
Julia Heliconian (Dryas alcionea)
© SaraBright
Yellow Passionflower
Julia Heliconian
Julia Heliconian (Dryas alcionea)
© SaraBright
Purple Passionflower/Maypop