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:
<<       >>
Common NameCarolina Satyr by Scott Hartley
[View PDF]
Click to enlarge
[Google Images]     BoA [Images ]
Scientific NameHermeuptychia sosybius
Link to BAMONA species account.
MapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
DistributionDISTRIBUTION: Throughout the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, and nearly throughout the mountains. However, in the last province, limited mostly to the lower elevations, primarily in the southern half of the mountains. Thus, the range in NC is practically the same as that of the Gemmed Satyr.
AbundanceABUNDANCE: Common to often abundant in the central and western Piedmont, but only common in the eastern Piedmont and Coastal Plain -- subject to flooding events, which greatly impact numbers in the eastern half of the state (especially since 2016). Can be uncommon to only fairly common in the eastern parts a year following severe flooding. Fairly common to locally common in the lower mountains. This is one of the most often seen butterflies in the dappled shade of hardwood forests and along forest trails. Seems to have greatly increased across the state since about 2005, perhaps owing to their usage of the ever-increasing exotic Japanese stilt-grass (Microstegium vimineum) for a foodplant. Note that the peak daily totals, all from NABA butterfly counts, have occurred in the past five years, but only in the western half of the state. In the last century, it likely was more common in the Coastal Plain than in the central and western Piedmont.
FlightFLIGHT PERIOD: Apparently three broods. Flight periods downstate are from very late March to early June, early June to early August, and early August to late October. In the mountains the gaps are in mid-June and in late August or early September, about two weeks later than downstate. As with the Gemmed Satyr, the middle brood is the least common.
HabitatHABITAT: Widespread in hardwood or mixed forests, especially wetter ones that are somewhat open or have trails. As with the Gemmed, the Carolina favors woods with considerable grasses, such as those along trails and wooded edges. It also can be found in flatwoods, open swamps, and many other forests and edges. It is common in sewerline clearings through bottomlands.
See also Habitat Account for General Forests
PlantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: Various grasses are the foodplants, especially those growing in shade. The species now uses the invasive, exotic Japanese stilt-grass as a foodplant, perhaps exclusively so in some areas. Although I have seen a few of them nectaring, the species generally feeds at carrion, sap, fruits, moisture, etc.
CommentsCOMMENTS: Both the Carolina Satyr and the Gemmed Satyr have a bouncing flight near the forest floor, especially along trails, sewerline clearings, and edges of dirt roads. Their flight seldom takes them more than a foot off the ground. In flight the Carolina Satyr is a little bit darker brown and smaller than the Gemmed Satyr and is about 5 times more common than the Gemmed in most areas. The recently described Intricate Satyr is extremely similar to Carolina Satyr; see that species account for distinctions.

Hurricanes Matthew (2016), Florence (2018), and to a lesser extent Michael (2018), along with other strong storms, have damaged the populations of Carolina Satyrs and many wetland skippers in the past few years. Many cities, towns, and counties in the state had record rainfall in 2018, with Wilmington and Morehead City surpassing 100 inches of rain. It may take a few years of normal to below normal rainfall for these species to return to former population levels.
State RankS5
State Status
Global RankG5
Federal Status
Other Name

Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo Gallery for Carolina Satyr
Photo by: Roger Rittmaster
Comment: male (basal area looks darker). Durham Co.
Carolina Satyr - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Roger Rittmaster
Comment: mated pair, Durham Co.
Carolina Satyr - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Dave Kastner
Comment: 2018-Sep-22 Moncks Corner, SC. Note that the post-median band on the hindwing bends forward (toward the base) around the top large black eyespot.
Carolina Satyr - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Dave Kastner
Comment: 2018-Sep-22 Moncks Corner, SC. Note the darker brown scaling on the basal half of the wings, such that the outer parts of the wings look paler, the definitive field mark on male Carolina Satyr.
Carolina Satyr - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Salman Abdulali
Comment: female (Carolina Satyr); Chicod Creek, Beaufort County; 2009-June-24.
Carolina Satyr - Click to enlarge