Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1¼ - 1½ inches (3.2 - 3.9 cm). The upperside is dark brown with bright orange areas. The underside is yellowish-orange with a lighter yellow row of pigment blocks forming a "V" with the apex of the V pointing posteriorly. Two additional light blocks are found near the center of the hindwing.The forewing tips have about four such pigment blocks.The black eye is rimmed with white. The wing fringes are a dark brown.

Egg: Whitish, hemispherical eggs are laid singly on or near host.

Caterpillar: Grayish to brown. Head brown or black with two pale vertical lines on face. Caterpillars construct a nest at the base of host grass clump. Partially grown larvae overwinter.


Meske's Skippers are rapid fliers, often making an audible buzz when they pass by.  They inhabit dry, open, grassy woods and pinelands, although they may travel quite some distance to find prime nectar sources.  There are two broods, with the second being larger.  These coincide with the beginning and end of the southern rainy season. 

Like other members of their genus, Meske's females lay their eggs on or near host grasses.  Caterpillars create nests within grass clumps that are low to the ground, often containing a detritus-lined tunnel that may go slightly below the ground's surface.  Since this skipper's habitat is typically fire-maintained, the somewhat subterranean shelter may help with survival.

Meske's Skippers have only been occasionally documented in Alabama.  Whether they are actually rare or only rarely encountered and correctly identified is not known.  "Gulf Coast" and "Dixie" Skipper are other common names, which allude to Meske's restricted range.  It is found from eastern North Carolina west to Arkansas and eastern Texas and southward through Florida.  This species is declining through much of its range probably due, at least in part, to habitat loss. The subspecies historically found in the Florida Keys is now presumed extinct. 


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: Baldwin, Bibb, Cleburne, Escambia

  • 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 - Escambia - 10/2/2022
  • 1 - Cleburne - 6/3/2020
  • 1 - Baldwin - 10/12/2020
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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Dry, grassy areas and open woodlands. Dry pinelands.

Host and Nectar Plants

No host plant has been documented in Alabama.

In North Carolina, Meske's Skippers have been observed ovipositing on Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparius). In the Florida Keys, Arrow Feather Three Awn/Arrow Grass (Aristida purpurascens) was recorded.