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Butterflies of Alabama, Butterflies of Alabama, 0817355952, 0-8173-5595-2, 978-0-8173-5595-1, 9780817355951, , Gosse Nature Guides, Butterflies of Alabama, 0817391452, 0-8173-9145-2, 978-0-8173-9145-4, 9780817391454, , Gosse Nature Guide

Butterflies of Alabama
Glimpses into Their Lives
Paulette H. Ogard, Sara C. Bright

Quality Paper
2010. 512 pp.
418 Illustrations, 86 Maps
Price:  $34.95 t
E Book
2010. 512 pp.
418 Illustrations, 86 Maps
Price:  $34.95 d

Butterflies of Alabama is a full-color, richly illustrated guide to the 84 known species of “true” butterflies (Papilionoidea) found within the state’s borders. For more than 14 years, the authors have made a close study of these showy, winged stars of the insect world, pursuing them in a great variety of habitats, rearing them, and photographing their remarkable life cycle stages—egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalid or “cocoon”), and adult.


Each species account is accompanied by color photographs of live subjects in their natural habitats. Close-ups reveal fascinating details of camouflage, mimicry, coloration, and warning devices. The engaging text explains the highly evolved relationships between butterflies and the plants upon which they depend as well as the specialized adaptations that enable their survival within specific environmental niches. Included are range maps, flight times, caterpillar host plants, adult nectar sources, and identification tips—abundant information to tantalize budding as well as experienced butterfly watchers. In addition, pertinent conservation issues are addressed and appendices provide an annotated checklist of the state’s butterflies, a list of accidentals and strays, information on butterfly organizations, and recommended further reading.


With its non-technical language, simple format, and beautiful images, Butterflies of Alabama is accessible and appealing to anyone who appreciates Alabama’s amazing natural wealth.

Publication is supported in part by the Citizens of the City of Selma, Alabama's Butterfly Capital.


Sara Bright is a professional photographer whose work has been featured in Canoe, Southern Living, Birder’s World, Outdoor Life, Geo, and Portico, and is on permanent display at McDonald’s Corporation, Alabama Power, Wachovia Bank, and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Paulette Haywood Ogard has taught classes on wildflowers and native plants at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and conducted workshops throughout the southeast on wildlife habitats, butterflies, and butterfly gardening.

"This work portrays the lives of 84 of the 130+ species of butterflies reported from Alabama. After some introductory comments and acknowledgments, the body of the book offers details of species and their families. The book also provides remarks on conservation of Lepidoptera, a list of plants, and a very useful checklist of Alabama's butterflies with notes on natural history, as well as distribution maps, details of organizations involved in butterfly and plant conservation, and a glossary. This information is useful for most of the Southeast. Ogard, who has taught courses on native flora at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, writes very well, and explains issues in language understandable to laypersons. The photographs by Bright are superb and show the butterfly's several stages of development, adult forms, and both sexes in many cases. This is an excellent book, but its coffee-table style with large stand-alone pictures makes it too bulky for a field guide. W. Mike Howell and Vitaly Charny's Butterflies of Alabama (2010) is better for use in the field, while this one is better for use in more comfortable surroundings. Summing Up: Recommended. All libraries."

"Wow! [Butterflies of Alabama] is a treasure. I am a big fan of Satyrium hairstreaks and went right to that section in the book. What wonderful accounts. The whole 'byre' thing with S.edwardsii is really amazing and the description was fascinating. . . . This is a wonderful book [that] will stand as a high water mark for all others."

--Jonathan Pelham, author of Catalogue of the Butterflies of the United States and Canada

"Although the book will no doubt be a 'must have' for many on the basis of the brilliant photography alone, Butterflies of Alabama is also commendable for its excellent text, which is filled with fascinating information about the butterflies, their life styles, their habitats, and their interactions with the plants and the other creatures central to their survival strategies. . . . [This is] a treasure that will reward its users for years to come."

--Southern Lepidopterists' News

"I can picture this book propelling children and adults outdoors to treasure hunt and to observe natural drama in progress, which is the cure to 'nature deficit disorder.' It will be a much-used tool for scout troops, hikers, campers, canoe clubs, wildflower groups, and other outdoor organizations. Park rangers and interpreters will stock it in park gift shops and reference libraries. This book needs to be on the shelf of every nursery manager [as] it will help fuel a consumer demand for ecologically valuable plants and will provide plant lists for business people who need to respond to that demand."
—Carol Lovell-Saas, Director, Biophilia Nature Center, Elberta, Alabama

"One of the species detailed in the book is the Gorgone Checkerspot, an extremely rare butterfly throughout its range in the southeast and seen only in Cleburne and Calhoun counties in the 1950s."

--The Cleburne News

"The imagery of the butterflies in this book is beyond breathtaking, and anyone can easily identify the species from the photography. Plus, the text provides informational and enjoyable reading. It is a must-have book for wildlife enthusiasts and anyone who simply appreciates the natural beauty of Alabama. Paulette and Sara have created a true Alabama jewel.”—John Alex Floyd Jr., retired editor-in-chief, Southern Living magazine

"The authors have done an exceptional job in putting together . . . a very successful guide to the identification, ecology, and behavior of Alabama butterflies. The quality of the photographs alone has outstanding visual appeal [and] the accompanying text is likewise delightful to read, with a lot of substantive information provided in a charming, animated, non-technical narrative that should have broad appeal."
—Gary R. Mullen, Professor of Entomology, Auburn University

"Even after years of study, scientists cannot explain or understand the way the caterpillar's chrysalis rearranges the DNA to emerge as a butterfly. "It's just amazing that it happens,' says Paulette Ogard Haywood, author of the book, Butterflies of Alabama. . . . While she loves butterflies, she says that the 15 years I've devoted to this project has certainly been a labor of love. And what I love most are the wild and wonderful places throughout this state where butterflies and other wildlife find all the ingredients they need to live and breed. Those places are the core of the book and the legacy of Alabama--they must be preserved for future generations."

--Alabama Farmers Co-op

Also of Interest

Ferns of Alabama
John W. Short and Daniel D. Spaulding

Nature Journal
L. J. Davenport, with a Foreword by John C. Hall

Letters from Alabama
Philip Henry Gosse, Edited by Gary R. Mullen and Taylor D. Littleton

Philip Henry Gosse
Gary R. Mullen and Taylor D. Littleton