Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: ¾ - 1¼ inches (2.2 - 3.2 cm). The underside of the wings is dark brownish-black with numerous tiny whitish flecks. The forewing apex and the outer one-half of the hindwing are violet-gray. The upperside of the wings are black with a cluster of small white spots at the apex of the forewing. Both sexes have a checkered wing fringe.

Egg: Females lay a pale green, hemispherical-shaped egg singly on host plants. 

Caterpillar: The caterpillar is pale green and covered with a white powdery bloom. Numerous tiny tubercles, each bearing a flattened hair, cover the body.  The head is grayish with a gray facial stripe in the mid-line which is bordered by two vertical dashes. The caterpillars make shelters by rolling leaves together into a tube and tying them with silk.

Chrysalis: The chrysalis is green with a reddish hue at both ends of the body. The caterpillars in the fall brood usually hibernate through the winter to pupate in the following spring.

Males may usually be seen as they perch on dirt roads, boulders, or low growing vegetation in open areas near forest edges as they wait for receptive females to fly by. Common Roadside-Skippers have a unique habit of waving their antennae in a circular motion as they await females.

While the Common Roadside-Skipper is one of the most common and widespread skippers in North America, it is not common in Alabama: its southernmost range only extends into the northeast quadrant of our state.

The Common Roadside-Skipper is found from Nova Scotia and Maine west across southern Canada to British Columbia south to central California to northern Arizona and New Mexico; eastward throughout the plains states to the Atlantic seaboard; south to northern Georgia and Alabama; a couple of records from the panhandle of Florida. 

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: Bibb, Cleburne, DeKalb, Madison, Shelby

  • 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):

  • 11 - Bibb - 7/28/2002
  • 5 - Shelby - 4/11/2006
  • 5 - Shelby - 4/3/2016
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
1 8 17 15 8 1 2 1 1 2 2 3 11 1


Dirt roads, boulders, or low growing vegetation in open areas near forest edges. 

Common Roadside-Skipper
Common Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis)
Shelby County
© Paulette Ogard 3/29/2020
Boulders and low vegatation
Common Roadside-Skipper
Common Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis)
Shelby County
© Paulette Ogard
Boulders and low vegatation

Host and Nectar Plants

In Alabama, no host plants have not yet been documented.

In nearby states, the caterpillars eat the leaves of many grass species including Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon), bluegrasses (Poa spp.), bentgrasses (Agrostis spp.), Common Oats (Avena sativa), and River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).

The Common Roadside- Skipper is known to nectar on a variety of low-growing flowers.

Landscaping Ideas