Urbanus proteus (L)
September 15, 2002 December 30, 2006
Pete Williams, Gulf Breeze, Florida, October 2006
Shon Scott, Brewton, Alabama, September 19, 2010
The Long-tailed Skipper has a wing span of 1-3/4 to 2-1/5 inches. The tails are long. The upper side is dark blackish brown; the body and wing bases are iridescent blue-green. The males have a costal fold enclosing scent scales on the leading edge of the forewing. The dark row that is evident on the underside of the hindwing is a complete band.
The adults roost upside down under leaves and limbs. To seek females, the males perch three to six feet above the ground in sunlit openings. The females lay eggs under leaves in clusters of up to 20. The caterpillars feed on leaves and live in shelters made of rolled leaves.
Two to three broods are produced throughout the year in Alabama and Florida. The caterpillars munch on legume vines, including various beans, hog peanuts, beggar ticks, peas, and wisteria. The skipper butterfly takes nectar from a variety of plants including lantana, bougainvillea, and shepherd's needle.
Its preferred habitat is brushy fields, edges of woods, gardens, and other disturbed open habitats.