Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1½ - 2 inches (3.8 - 4.8 cm). Light brown. Forewing has 2 yellow-rimmed black eyespots both above and below. Hindwing has 2 eyespots on upper side but may have smaller spots below. Females are slightly larger.

ID Tip:  Dorsal and ventral forewings and hindwings have two distinct eyespots.

Egg: Pale green or white globes, laid singly.  May be placed near host grasses rather than on them.

Caterpillar: Brown with a dark dorsal stripe, brown dashes, two short stubby tails and two small horns on the head. Partially grown larvae overwinter.

Chrysalis: Tan with brown stripes and dots along the abdomen

Little Wood-Satyrs bounce through grassy woodland edges, and although they may wander into more open spaces, they seldom stray far from their forested habitats.  They fly higher than the other small satyrs, and often ascend into trees when alarmed. Although these butterflies typically use sap, fruit, and carrion as energy sources, Little Wood-Satyrs visit flowers occasionally.  They have been seen nectaring on American Wahoo flowers in northeast Alabama.

Much about the Little Wood-Satyr's life remains unknown.  Exactly how many generations fly each year?  Currently the answer is unknown.  Some suggest that only one large brood is produced but others point to a least two population peaks that are composed of butterflies of slightly different appearances.  Some suggest that there may be two separate species.  Careful observation and documentation are needed to increase our understanding of this common and widespread species. 

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, Blount, Butler, Calhoun, Cherokee, Chilton, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Dallas, Dekalb, DeKalb, Elmore, Escambia, Etowah, Greene, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lee, Madison, Marengo, Marion, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Morgan, Perry, Pickens, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Washington, Wilcox, Winston

  • 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):

  • 100 - Jackson - 5/20/2009
  • 91 - DeKalb - 5/15/2010
  • 84 - DeKalb - 5/13/2011
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 1 6 50 63 274 443 1014 606 312 184 72 133 95 13 27 2 21 3 3


A variety of woodland habitats

Little Wood-Satyr
Little Wood-Satyr (Megisto cymela)
© Sara Bright

Host and Nectar Plants

Grasses, especially woodland species are widely reported throughout the range.

Eastern Needlegrass has been documented as a host in Alabama, but other grasses are also used.

Little Wood-Satyrs visit flowers occasionally.  They have been seen nectaring on American Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpurea) flowers in Alabama.

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

Landscaping Ideas