Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 - 1½ inches (2.5 - 3.5 cm). The upperside of the forewing in the male is brownish-black except for the black stigma, while the same wing in the female is also brownish-black, but with three or four small translucent spots.  The underside of the male forewing is brownish-black without any markings, while the same wing in the female is brownish with a band of three or four squarish, whitish spots in the upper one-half of the postmedian area.  The upperside of the head and thorax has a yellowish-orange to yellowish-green sheen.

Egg: Hemispherical eggs laid singly on leaves of hsot plant. Initially egg is pale green and unmarked. On second day, it develops an irregular red spot at the top as well as an irregular red band that circles the middle. 

Caterpillar:  Translucent green with numerous, wavy silvery-white dashes. Head on mature caterpillars is tricolored; black in the back; face is caramel brown with two vertical cream bands. A distinctive dark oval spot is centered high on face. Overwintering stage.

Chrysalis: Yellow-green. Abdomen whitish green. Wing cases and thorax pale yellow green.  Head pale brown. There is a light frosting of white. Somewhat translucent, which makes it appear blotchy. Proboscis case very long; extends to ourth abdominal segment. 

Like other members of their genus, Euphyes, Dun Skippers are typically found in or near wetlands, although males may avidly seek nectar in higher, drier places,  Late in the day, they perch on vegetation about 2 to 3 feet above the ground where they wait for potential mates to fly by. When perched, their wings are partially open. They will leave their perch to chase away rival males that fly by.  Freshly emerged males also puddle on damp earth. Females tend to prefer shadier habitats near host plants. They have been observed ovipositing in late morning.

By fourth instar, caterpillars make leaf tents by sealing sedge blades together with silken threads. Third-stage instars hibernate through late fall and winter. In the spring, the caterpillars become mature. The final instar caterpillars form pupae.

This is a wide-ranging skipper, being found from across southern Canada east of the Rockies and south to the Gulf coast and east Texas. Disjunct populations occur in areas of the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Coast, and high plains. It is found throughout 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: Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Choctaw, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Covington, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dallas, DeKalb, Elmore, Etowah, Franklin, Geneva, Greene, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Limestone, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Marengo, Marion, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Morgan, Perry, Pickens, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Washington

  • 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):

  • 30 - Pickens - 8/31/2016
  • 26 - Pickens - 8/17/2020
  • 23 - Cleburne - 8/2/2021
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 6 4 1 14 25 25 18 17 40 18 24 10 27 45 55 20 66 45 61 74 108 57 61 55 28 19 6 8 1 2


The Dun Skipper is found in wet places such as  bogs, swamps, marshes, and seepage areas located near deciduous woodlands. 

Dun Skipper
Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris)
Shelby County
© PHOgard
Shoal Creek

Host and Nectar Plants

In other states, Dun Skipper caterpillars are reported to feed on the leaves of a wide variety of sedges (Carex spp.) and Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus).

In Alabama, Dun Skippers have been found using Cherokee Sedge, a native clump-forming perennial.  Other sedges may also be used as host plants.


For more information about these plants, please visit the Alabama Plant Atlas using the links above.

Landscaping Ideas

Provide a variety of garden worthy, nectar-rich flowers to attract butterflies like the Dun Skipper. These include: Butterfly Milkweed and other milkweeds; Purple Coneflower and other coneflowers; black eyed susans; phloxes; mountain mints; Common Buttonbush; Joe Pye weeds; gayfeathers/blazing stars; Mistflower; ironweeds; asters; and goldenrods.

Consider adding Cherokee Sedge to your landscape.  It is an extremely adaptable perennial that will grow in clay soils and is deer resistant.  It can be used as an edging for pathways, a ground cover, or as a filler in meadow plantings.

If you have a lawn in your landscape, let 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 Dun Skippers