Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1 - 1¼ inches (2.7 - 3.2 cm). Important field identification markings are seen along the wing fringes which are checkered with black and cream colors. The underside of the wings  is dark brown to black with many small white spots and grayish overscaling except at the wing apex. The upperside of the wings is black, with numerous tiny white spots on the forewing. As in other species of Amblyscirtes, the black abdomen is encircled with white rings at the joints of the body segments.

Egg: Hemispherical and slightly flattened.  Clear white; surface smooth and shiny with no pattern.  Laid singly on underside of host plant leaf.

Caterpillar: Body green with a whitish overcast. Head whitish, bearing a brown vertical stripe down the mid-line. 

Chrysalis: Head and wing case pale cream. Thorax light orange-brown. Abdomen pale yellow with paler yellow rings.  

This small, dark skipper is easy to overlook as it flies along the ground. It is also easy to confuse with the more common Pepper and Salt Skipper that may share the same habitat. Like several other roadside-skippers, Bell's typically occurs only in isolated populations, although suitable habitat seems to be prevalent. It is found near woodland streams or woodland edges in rich, deciduous woodlands.  Males perch in sunny openings to find females.  They take moisture and minerals from damp earth; both sexes nectar from small flowers.

This skipper was once known as Bell's Roadside Rambler.  Until 1990, it was lumped with Celia's Roadside-Skipper, which primarily occurs in Texas.  Because of differences in genitalia and distribution, Bell's Roadside-Skipper attained full species status. It reaches the eastern limits of its range in Alabama, Georgia, and possibly 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: Colbert

  • 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 - Colbert - 5/21/2020
  • 1 - Colbert - 5/28/2016
  • 1 - Colbert - 5/29/2016
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
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Prefers moist, rich woodlands where it may be found in openings near creeks.  May also be found in sunny openings or woodland edges.




Host and Nectar Plants

The host plant has not yet been documented for Alabama.

In nearby states, River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) is the primary host plant documented for this species. Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense) has been reported in Texas.

Bell's Roadside Skipper
Bell's Roadside Skipper (Amblyscirtes belli)
© Sara Bright
River Oats
Bell's Roadside Skipper
Bell's Roadside Skipper (Amblyscirtes belli)
© Sara Bright
Johnson Grass

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