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Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Long-tailed Skipper



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The turquoise-tinted Long-tailed Skipper loves the east coast, but this species occasionally pops up on the west coast, too.



Updated: 11/02/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The long 'tails' on the tips of each of Long-tailed Skipper's forewings helped name this it, 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 it flutters through life, making it possible to mistake it when 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 (top) side of the body and nearby parts of the forewings are covered in 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.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Hesperiidae
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          Genus: Urbanus
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            Species: proteus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Urbanus proteus
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 38mm to 59mm (1.49" to 2.32")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; blue; tan; white; black
Descriptors: iridescent, flying, tails
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 38mm and 59mm
Lo: 38mm
Md: 48.5mm
Hi: 59mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Long-tailed Skipper may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Long-tailed Skipper. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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