Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Long-Tailed Skipper - (Urbanus proteus)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 1/23/2014

The Long-Tailed Skipper loves the east coast, but has occasionally popped up on the west coast.

The long 'tail's on the tips of each of Long-Tailed Skipper's forewings helped name this butterfly. It is the most prevalent tailed skipper. These handy indicators can easily wear off as the butterfly flutters through life, making it possible to misidentify it in that case. Most of its forewings are brown with white spots. The dorsal ('back') hairs are a lovely shade of blue-green.

The caterpillar feeds heavily on pea plants and beans, becoming a nuisance to crop farmers. They roll the leaves as they chew through a plant.

This skipper can be found in gardens, meadows, fields and near water in the Southeast, venturing north during warmer months. They are active all year, but most visible in summer. They are capable of producing many generations in one year.

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Category: Butterfly or Moth
Common name: Long-Tailed Skipper
Scientific Name: Urbanus proteus

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Lepidoptera
      Family: Hesperiidae
       Genus: Urbanus
        Species: proteus

Adult Size (Length): 38mm to 59mm (1.50in to 2.32in)

Identifying Colors: brown; blue; tan; white; black

Additional Descriptors: iridescent, flying, tails

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arizona; California; Connecticut; Florida; Georgia; Louisiana; Massachusetts; Mississippi; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina;Rhode Island; South Carolina; Texas; Virginia; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.