The turquoise-tinted Long-tailed Skipper loves the east coast, but this butterfly occasionally pops up on the west coast, too.
The long 'tails' on the tips of each of Long-tailed Skipper's forewings helped name this butterfly, and also help in identifying it. It is the most prevalent species of the tailed skippers. The full length of the tails can easily wear off as the butterfly flutters through life, making it possible to mistake it if it is old or weathered. The forewings are brown with white dashes or lines spread around at the front edge of the wings. The dorsal ('back') side of the forewings are painted over with lovely blue-green hairs.
The caterpillar of the Long-tailed Skipper feeds heavily on pea plants and beans, making itself something of a nuisance to crop farmers. They roll the leaves of the plant as they move around to fresher foliage. Its red and black head is large. The body is covered in dense, lacy yellow speckles and lines that run the length of the body. The fleshy prolegs and the rear are almost neon orange.
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.
Scientific Name: Urbanus proteus
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 38mm to 59mm (1.48in to 2.30in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.