Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly - Urbanus proteus

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Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly Urbanus proteus

Long-tailed Skippers are found in the southeastern and southwestern US.


Although eggs are laid singly often, this species of butterfly will also often lays eggs in egg towers or egg stacks.


Many species of lepidoptera eat their eggshells after they emerge from the eggshell. This species does not eat the entire egg shell. The first two photos above were taken through a microscope. The hatchling cuts a leaf to create a little nest.


From a hatchling to pupation, caterpillars either cut and fold a leaf to make a nest, fold a leaf to make a nest, or sew several leaves together to make a nest. They attach the leaves with silk from their spinnerets (below their heads). The red dots that look like red eyes in the nest are not true eyes. Caterpillar have 12 eyes, 6 on each side of their heads.

long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Male caterpillar
long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Female caterpillar

The males testes are visible through their skins on their backs. Several species of lepidoptera have skin so transparent that one can tell a male from a female while the butterfly is in the larval or caterpillar stage.

long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Spitting
long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Male
long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Nest behind Blue Pea Vine

When disturbed, a caterpillar spits out green fluid. Blue Pea Vine is a beautiful flowering host plant for Long-tailed Skipper butterflies.


When ready to pupate, the caterpillar goes inside its nest of leaves and exudes wax. The pupa will be covered with a wax layer.

long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Spanish Needles
long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Male Perching
long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Blazing Stars

Middle above: Male Long-tailed Skippers select an area near host plants that he considers his territory. He will fly at anything that enters his territory, presumably as either a challange or courtship, depending upon the identity of the object.

long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Mexican Sunflower
long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Whirling Butterflies
long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Indigo Spires Salvia

Long-tailed Skipper butterflies find nectar in many different nectar plants.

long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Wetland Yellow Flower
long tailed skipper butterfly, Urbanus proteus
Japanese Plum - Loquat