Butterflies of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance

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Scientific Name begins with:
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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 HESPERIIDAE:
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Common NameConfused Cloudywing by Ed Corey => Cumberland Co., Carvers Creek State Park, 2009-05-08
[View PDF]
Click to enlarge
[Google Images]     BoA [Images ]
Scientific NameThorybes confusis
Link to BAMONA species account.
MapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
DistributionDISTRIBUTION: This is a somewhat poorly-known species in NC, at least outside of the sandhills region, because of the difficulty of identification. Records are scattered over most of the southern half of the Coastal Plain, plus the eastern portion of the Piedmont. Its status in the western half of the state needs study, but it may be nearly absent in the mountains, and possibly also in the extreme upper Piedmont; its range in the northern Coastal Plain is also highly uncertain, but it may be legitimately absent there.
AbundanceABUNDANCE: Uncommon in the Sandhills; rare to locally uncommon elsewhere in the southern half of the Coastal Plain, and seemingly very rare to absent north of Craven County. Apparently rare in the eastern and southern Piedmont. A specimen collected in Clay County in 2002 by Ron Gatrelle confirms the species in the mountains. Obviously, more work is needed to determine the true abundance, but it is definitely scarce in NC and much rarer than the other two cloudywings.
FlightFLIGHT PERIOD: Two broods; flight periods in the Coastal Plain occur from early or mid-April to mid-June, and early July to mid-September. The flights in the Piedmont appear to be from late April to mid- or late June, and mid- or late July into August; much more data are needed.
HabitatHABITAT: This species favors even drier habitats than the other two cloudywings. It is seen mostly in sandy, open sites near pinewoods, especially in xeric Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) habitats. However, it often is found with the other two cloudywings, particularly the Southern, in powerline clearings and along dirt roads. The habitat described in Opler and Malikul (1992) -- "Woods in river valleys or near swamps and marshes" -- is baffling and certainly not correct, at least in North Carolina.
See also Habitat Account for General Dry-Xeric Glades and Barrens
PlantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: The foodplants are legumes (Fabaceae), generally small herbaceous species, including vines. Nectar plants are not well known, but I saw adults nectaring on Small Black Blueberry (Vaccinium tenellum) in the Green Swamp. Second brood individuals often nectar on Coastal Sweet-pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia) and pink/purple composites such as thistles (Cirsium spp.). As with other cloudywings, most first-brood Confuseds are seen on dirt roads or at mud, basking or gathering nutrients from the wet soil.
CommentsCOMMENTS: This is one of the most difficult butterflies to identify in NC. In fact, the Butterflies and Moths of North America [BAMONA] website has recently changed the common name to Confusing Cloudywing, as the butterfly isn't "confused", but it is "confusing" (to identify)! Carefully study the descriptions and photos in Glassberg (1999, 2012). Confused can usually be told from Northern by the pale "face"; the Northern is dark faced, seldom shows a pale eye ring, and tends to be darker on the under wing outer margins. The Southern, like the Confused, has a pale face, a white ring around the eye, and much white frosting to the under wing margin (Confused more so). If the upper fore wing bars are hourglass-shaped, or even squared-off, it is generally a Southern. Confused generally has narrow, linear bars not squared-off at the ends. Ron Gatrelle (pers. comm.), after considerable study of specimens, notes that Confused can be separated from Southern by looking at the white spot in the distal carpel bar; the spot is displaced outward and is not aligned with the others above it in Confused but is larger and aligned with the others in Southern. The first brood of Southern Cloudywing has slightly thinner white fore wing bars than does the second brood, making them look somewhat like a Confused Cloudywing! Don't expect to identify every cloudywing you see in the field; in fact, it is impossible to do so. This confusion has to do mostly with individual variation in the amount of white shown by all three cloudywing species. If you see ten cloudywings in one day, you will probably see no two that look alike!


State RankS3S4
State StatusW
Global RankG4
Federal Status
SynonymCecropterus confusis
Other NameConfusing Cloudywing


Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo by: Richard Stickney
Comment: Moore Co., 2020-07-11
Confused Cloudywing - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Jeff Pippen
Comment: Brunswick Co., NC - 15 May 2004
Confused Cloudywing - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Randy Newman
Comment: Fort Macon State Park, Carteret Co.; 2003-July-11
Confused Cloudywing - Click to enlarge