Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: ¾ - 1inch (1.9 - 2.5 cm).  Closed wings are pale minty-green with a band of red-orange spots. Wings are edged in red-orange.  Open wings are charcoal gray with blue toward the wing base.  No tails.

ID Tip: Ventrally, minty-green with irregular orange band. No tails.

Egg: Reportedly, pale green eggs are laid singly on buds, developing fruits, leaves and catkins.

Caterpillar: Yellow green to rusty brown with rusty brown patches on thorax and abdomen.

Chrysalis: Rusty brown with darker brown specks.  The chrysalis is the overwintering stage.

Early Hairstreaks have been documented in Alabama only three times. All have been in Jackson County.  One was encountered in April, 2004 near Holly Tree.   It was nectaring on Beaked Corn Salad (Valerianella radiata), an abundant annual found along roadsides, woodland margins, and fields. The single female Early was in the company of Red-banded and Juniper Hairstreaks. In April 2014,  a female was seen along a hiking trail at the Walls of Jericho, where it was photographed. Subsequent searches yielded no Early Hairstreak sightings. On April 2, 2020, a ten-year old boy fished one out of a pond near Paint Rock.  He and his mother photographed it before it flew away.

Early Hairstreaks are among the Southeast’s most rarely encountered butterflies.  Whether they are actually rare is unknown. Some believe that they spend their time high in the canopy of beech trees and only rarely descend to the ground.  They may also be confused with Red-Banded Hairstreaks.  When hiking in northeast Alabama's cove forests, keep an eye out for mint green hairstreaks. Much information is needed to understand the population dynamics and life story of this species in Alabama and throughout its range.

For more information about Early Hairstreak sightings in Alabama:

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: Jackson

  • 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):

  • 1 - Jackson - 4/8/2014
  • 1 - Jackson - 4/2/2020
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
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In or near mature Beech forests. May occur along trails, woodland edges, stream corridors and wooded roadsides.

Early Hairstreak
Early Hairstreak (Erora laeta)
© Sara Bright
Sunny edge of rich forest

Host and Nectar Plants

American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) is most commonly reported,  Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) is also listed. 

No host plant has yet been verified in Alabama.

Early Hairstreak
Early Hairstreak (Erora laeta)
© Sara Bright
Beech tree flowers

Landscaping Ideas