Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 - 1¼ inches (2.5 - 3.5 cm). UPPER SURFACE (dorsal) Dark brown. Forewing has gray scaling toward outer edge.  Two chain-like black bands boarder a large gray patch. Darker at base. One tiny white spot occurs near forewing outer edge. Hingwing has two rows of small, pale spots. UNDER SURFACE (ventral) Dark brown with two rows of pale dots on hindwing. 

ID Tip: Look for a very small, dark duskywing with extremely long palps and one tiny white spot near upper-surface forewing edge.

Egg: Green when laid, turning orange or reddish. Ridged. Laid singly or in small groups on leaves of host plants. 

Caterpillar:  Light green or blue/green with a yellow lateral stripe. Body covered with short hairs and minute white tubercles. Head is brown with small points at top; rimmed with a pair of bright yellow/orange dots. Mature caterpillars overwinter.

Chrysalis: Reddish or yellowish brown. Head dark.  Thorax chestnut-coloed.  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 and appear noticeably smaller than other duskywings in a mixed puddle club. They nectar from a wide variety of spring flowers, but like typical duskywings, are most likely to be seen perched on the ground. 

Larvae live in leaf shelters constructed from host plant leaves. Final instar caterpillars overwinter in the leaf shelter and pupate 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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Openings near hardwoods or mixed forests; woodland edges, forest roadsides. May travel to nearby fields for nectar. Because it is a northern species, in Alabama, it is most llkely to be found at high elevations. 

Dreamy Duskywing
Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)
© Sara Bright
Edge of hardwood forest

Host and Nectar Plants

Reports from other states list willows (Salix spp.), poplars/aspens (Populus spp.), and locusts (Robinia spp.). In southeastern populations, oaks are suspected but not confirmed.

In Alabama, host plants have not yet been documented.


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