Long-tailed Skipper
Urbanus proteus

Medium sized butterfly measuring up to 2 5/16" in length. The upperside is dark blackish brown in color, the body and wing bases are iridescent blue-green with semitransparent spots on the forewings. The tails are long. Caterpillars are yellow green with a crimson head, yellow lateral stripes, and small black spots along the body.
North America, West Indies, Central America, South America
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Disturbed areas, forest edges and gardens.
Light yellow eggs are laid under the leaves of host plants.
Natural History:
Caterpillars shelter in leaves tied together with silk. Adults migrate southward to warmer parts of the state to overwinter.
Caterpillars feed on leaves of host plants. Larval host plants include the native spurred butterfly-pea (Centrosema virginianum), butterfly pea (Clitoria mariana), Florida ticktrefoil (Desmodium floridanum), West Indian beggar's-ticks (Desmodium incanum), panicledleaf ticktrefoil (Desmodium paniculatum), Eastern milkpea (Galactia regularis), Florida hammock milkpea (Galactia striata), thicket bean (Phaseolus polystachios var. sinuatus), least snoutbean (Rhynchosia minima), and cow-pea (Vigna luteola) and the nonnative white moneywort (Alysicarpus vaginalis), Asian pigeonwings (Clitoria ternatea), dixie ticktrefoil (Desmodium tortuosum), soybean (Glycine max), shrubverbena (Lantana camara), wild-bean (Macroptilium lathyroides), and kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata). Nectar plants include the native yellow joyweed (Alternanthera flavescens), Jack-in-the-bush (Chromolaena odorata), wild-sage (Lantana involucrata), snow squarestem (Melanthera nivea), sweetscent (Pluchea odorata), and blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis), the weedy native Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata) and the nonnative paper flower (Bougainvillea glabra) Mexican flamevine (Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides), and Brazilian-pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius).
Garden abundance is moderate to high. For more information, visit Butterflies and Moths of North America.

Beryn Harty, 2018.
Beryn Harty, 2018.
Beryn Harty, 2018.
Mary Keim, 2018.
Mary Keim, 2018.
Mary Keim, 2011. Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus) on Cow-pea (Vigna luteola).