Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1¼ - 1¾ inches (3.5 - 4.3 cm). Wings are brown and lack typical "eyespots." The underside of the hindwing has a silvery patch at the outer margin which contains four black reflective spots or "gems."

ID Tip:  On the undersurface hindwing, there is a frosted patch with four black spots that contain glints of iridescence.

Egg: Pearly green orbs, laid singly on host plant.

Caterpillar: Green or brown with pale stripes, two small tails, and two brownish horns on head.

Chrysalis: May be green or brown, possibly depending on the season.

Gemmed Satyrs are Alabama's only satyrs without discernable eyespots.  Instead, their plain brown hindwings appear to be ornamented with tiny jewels or "gems."  Eyespots are thought to give predators the impression that they are encountering a larger, more dangerous creature.  Gemmed Satyrs' markings may serve the same function, since the gemmed hindwing patch bears a remarkable resemblance to the face of a jumping spider (Platycryptus spp.).  

Gemmed Satyrs are often the first satyrs that fly in the spring.


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, Chilton, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Covington, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dallas, DeKalb, Elmore, Escambia, Franklin, Hale, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lawrence, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Marengo, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Morgan, Perry, Pickens, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, Sumter, Talladega, 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):

  • 27 - Shelby - 3/25/2020
  • 20 - Shelby - 4/4/2022
  • 20 - Baldwin - 5/12/2022
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
11 9 57 156 135 137 77 41 27 47 22 27 22 19 23 28 5 14 18 33 3 31 12 39 24 38 28 42 55 29 27 18 14 2 3


Openings and edges of deciduous woodlands with shady, grassy areas.

Gemmed Satyr
Gemmed Satyr (Cyllopsis gemma)
© Sara Bright
Gemmed Satyr
Gemmed Satyr (Cyllopsis gemma)
© Fred Nation/AL Plant Atlas
Cogon Grass

Host and Nectar Plants

These butterflies rarely drink from flowers, but they have been documented nectaring from American Wahoo (Euonymous atropurpureus) in Jackson County.

Grasses, especially woodland species, are reported throughout the range.

Slender Spikegrass/Slender Woodoats is a common host; the highly invasive Cogon Grass has also been documented in Alabama.  Other grasses may also be used as hosts.


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

Gemmed Satyr
Gemmed Satyr (Cyllopsis gemma)
© Fred Nation/AL Plant Atlas

Landscaping Ideas

Including native grasses in the landscape supports the caterpillars of many butterfly species, including Gemmed Satyr.