Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 - 1¼ inches (2.5 - 3.5 cm). This is a dark brown to black duskywing that generally appears significantly smaller than other duskywings in a mixed puddle club. It is distinguished by its lack of the typical group of translucent spots near the tip of the ventral forewing; instead, there is only one small spot on the leading edge. Blue-gray and black crescents form a chain-like pattern across the forewings' upperside. A patch of gray is present near the outer costal margin. Female forewings are more patterned than males. Closed wings are brown with two rows of pale dots on the hindwing. 

An important field mark is the long palps ("snout"). These extended palps, along with the single white forewing spot and their smaller size, help to differentiate Dreamy from Sleepy Duskywings. 

Egg: Green when laid, turning oragne or reddish. Laid singly on leaves of the host plants. 

Caterpillar:  Green caterpillar with yellow lateral stripe. Body covered with small white tubercles and short hairs. Brown head is strongly angled with bright orange dots along margins. Overwintering stage.

Chrysalis: Reddish or yellowish brown. Thorax and abdomen more tan.  Wing cases often green-tinged.

Dreamy Duskywings are northern butterflies that reach the southern limit of their range in the mountains of extreme northeast Alabama.  They are believed to have only one flight during the year, emerging somewhat later than many of the other spring-flying duskywings. However, it is possible that a second brood may occur in our region.

Male Dreamys fly close to the ground, perching on low twigs or the ground to wait for females. Females flutter through low vegetation, brushy areas, and forest edges where host plants occur. Both males and females sip moisture and minerals from damp soil. They nectar from a wide variety of spring flowers, but like typical duskywings, are most likely to be seen perched on the ground.

The larvae live in rolled up leaf shelters constructed from host plant leaves. The final larval stage overwinters in the leaf shelter and pupates during the following spring.

The Dreamy Duskywing occurs from Nova Scotia west to British Columbia. In the eastern U. S. it extends southward into northern Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas.

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: DeKalb, 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):

  • 2 - Jackson - 4/24/2014
  • 1 - DeKalb - 4/13/2021
  • 1 - Jackson - 5/16/2009
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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This skipper is usually found in openings near hardwoods or mixed forests. Because it is a northern species, in Alabama it is most lilkely to be found at high elevations. 

Dreamy Duskywing
Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)
© Sara Bright
Edge of Hardwood Forest

Host and Nectar Plants

In Alabama, host plants have not yet been documented.

In other areas, hosts include willows (Salix spp.), poplars/aspens (Populus spp.), and locusts (Robinia spp.). In southeastern populations, oaks are also suspected but not dcumented.

Many spring-blooming plants and trees provide nectar. 

Dreamy Duskywing
Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)
© Sara Bright

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