Butterflies of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance

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Once on a species account page, clicking on the "View PDF" link will show the flight data for that species, for each of the three regions of the state.
Other information, such as high counts and earliest/latest dates, can also been seen on the PDF page.

Related Species in NYMPHALIDAE:
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Common NameLittle Wood-Satyr by Randy Newman => Theodore Roosevelt State Natural Area, 2004-05-12
[View PDF]
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[Google Images]     BoA [Images ]
Scientific NameMegisto cymela
Link to BAMONA species account.
MapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
DistributionDISTRIBUTION: Statewide; probably occurs in all NC counties, though a number of counties in the Coastal Plain lack records.
AbundanceABUNDANCE: Fairly common to locally common in the northern Piedmont and northern mountains, but mainly fairly common (at best) in the central and southern parts of these provinces. In the Coastal Plain, it is uncommon to fairly common in the northern counties, but is quite uncommon (rare to uncommon) over most of that province. It is less common in NC than in the Northeastern and Midwestern states. This northern abundance shows a bit here, as the three highest state one-day counts are all from counties bordering VA.
FlightFLIGHT PERIOD: Seemingly one long flight period, but a small brood may be present in late summer. Present from mid-April to very early September, very rarely in October; the great majority of records are from mid-May to early July. However, peak counts are in the early part of the flight period, in late May and early June. Most reports after July probably represent misidentified Carolina Satyrs, and most experienced butterfliers seldom see Little Wood-Satyrs after early or mid-July. Photos from August into October -- none yet seen by me -- would be most appreciated for documentation.
HabitatHABITAT: This satyr is typically found along upland woodland borders or very open woods. It also occurs in old fields, clearcuts, "glades", powerline clearings, and other woodland openings. It favors upland sites as opposed to wetlands; it also appears to be more common over circumneutral soils in NC, a trait noted by Opler and others.
PlantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: The foodplants are grasses, mostly those of old fields and edges. As with other satyrs, adults seldom nectar, but feed on carrion, decaying fruit, sap, and moisture.
CommentsCOMMENTS: I frequently see this species bouncing along wooded edges, weaving around saplings and working briefly into the shade of the woodland edge. Little Wood-Satyrs can be identified on the wing; it is 1 1/2 - 2 times the size of the other four satyrs.

A number of references have indicated that there is a second peak in the flight in July (in states to our north), and flight charts in more northern states do show a clear second peak. Allen (1997) notes a second peak in WV but considers this part of a single brood, just delayed emergence and flight by some of the population. H. Pavulaan (1996 and pers. comm.) considers these as Type I and Type II, which may represent sibling species. Whatever the case, eggs laid by the females in May and June (Type I) do not produce Type II offspring, so there are not two broods. Confusing the matter is that Type I and Type II individuals range across all of VA. The Type II brood, though occurring in NC, is apparently scarce, barely showing on the flight chart; and it seems to be limited (as presently known) to the northern half of the Piedmont. Much more data are needed in NC, such as habitat, flight behavior, coloration, and amount of wear when seen, for such wood-satyrs seen in late June, July, and August. Another puzzling feature of this species, if indeed only one is present in the East, is that its flight in NC begins at practically the same time as it does in NJ (Gochfeld and Burger 1997) and NY (Glassberg 1999)! For essentially all other butterfly species, the flight of a given species begins two to four weeks earlier in central NC than it does in central NY. Might there be two species involved here?

The "Viola's Wood-Satyr", considered by Opler and Warren (2004), NatureServe, and Butterflies of America to be a subspecies of Little Wood-Satyr, was tentatively considered to occur along the southeastern coast of NC in the 13th Approximation. However, specimens and photos from this region, plus observations in 2006, suggest that these butterflies all belong to the nominate subspecies of Little Wood-Satyr. Thus, "Viola's", considered now as a subspecies in Pelham (2020), is only known as far north as coastal SC.
State RankS5
State Status
Global RankG5
Federal Status
Other Name

Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo Gallery for Little Wood-Satyr
Photo by: Scott Hartley
Comment: Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve, Moore Co.; 2006-June-21
Little Wood-Satyr - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Roger Rittmaster
Comment: Chatham Co.
Little Wood-Satyr - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Chris Talkington
Comment: Ashe County; 25-May-2014
Little Wood-Satyr - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Chris Talkington
Comment: Ashe County; 25-May-2014
Little Wood-Satyr - Click to enlarge