Butterfly: Wingspan: 1¼ - 1¾ inches (2.1 - 4.1 cm). The uppersides of the wings have a distinctive and contrasting pattern of beiges, browns, whites and blacks. The basal one-half of the forewing is nearly black. The leading margin and submargin has a median to post-median dirty grayish-white patch. This is followed outwardly by about a dozen black, irregular-shaped triangles forming an arcuate row across the forewing. About 7 tiny, clear to whitish circular spots are located along the arc of dark triangles near the wing apex. The forewing submargin has a row of light brown squarish spots followed by a grayish to brown fringe. The upperside of the hindwing is dark brown basally and lighter brown in the submarginal and marginal areas with some small faint white spots. It also has a grayish to brown fringe. The underside of the wings are similar to the upperside but with fainter markings.
Egg: Females lay green eggs singly on the leaves of host plants. As the egg ages, and just before it hatches, it turns pinkish.
Caterpillar: The young caterpillar is orange-white. The mature caterpillar is pale yellowish-green, covered with small white tubercles, and short hairs. The head is brownish with orange mottling. Mature caterpillars from the third brood overwinter and pupate in the spring.
Chrysalis: The chrysalis is either dark green or brown.
Males may be seen as they perch on low sunlit vegetation in open areas. Females may be seen in a low, bouncing flight near host plants on which they often perch in order to rest or to lay eggs. The Wild Indigo Duskywing is sporadically found throughout Alabama. It may become more widespread as one of its potential host plants, Crown Vetch (Securigera varia) is increasingly used as a groundcover along roadsides.
The Wild Indigo Duskywing is distributed from southern New England southward through the Atlantic coastal states to Georgia; westward along the Gulf coastal states to eastern Texas; northward to Nebraska and southern Minnesota and southern Ontario.
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 email@example.com.
Sightings in the following counties: Baldwin, Bibb, Bullock, Butler, Calhoun, Chilton, Choctaw, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Covington, Dallas, DeKalb, Escambia, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Marengo, Perry, Russell, Shelby, Sumter, Tuscaloosa
View county names by moving the mouse over a county or view a map with county names
Adults prefer to visit forest edges, old fields, roadsides, utility right-of-ways. Adults may be encountered along dirt roads and stream edges where they gather to sip moisture and nutrients from the damp soil.
Wild Indigo Duskywing larvae reportedly feed on legumes such as wild indigos (Baptista tinctoria and B. laevicollis), Crown Vetch (Securigera varia) and lupine (Lupinus spp.).
In Alabama, these plants have been documented:
For more information about these plants, please visit the Alabama Plant Atlas using the links above.
If you have a lawn in your landscape, consider letting it be natural. The diverse assemblage of native and nonnative flowering plants and grasses typically found in naturalized lawns provides nectar and host sources for many small butterflies including Wild Indigo Duskywings.
Click on individual photos to view a larger version that includes photo credits, county, and date.
Photos with comments are indicated by a small, tan dot on the bottom right.