Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
tribe - EUDAMINI
Satipo, Peru ©
Pyrginae, popularly known as Flats or Spreadwings, are a
cosmopolitan subfamily distributed across temperate and tropical
habitats throughout the world. In the Americas there are 990
Eudamini includes 44 genera in the Americas. There are several
genera of Long-tailed Skippers Urbanus,
Polythrix, Typhedanus and
Aguna; which together comprise of about
of long-tailed Skippers usually have either a thin white median
band, or a pattern of diaphanous spots, the configuration of which
varies according to genus and species. A feature that helps narrow
down the genus is the pattern on the underside hindwings. In
Aguna for example these are marked with
a prominent white median band, while Chioides
and Typhedanus are marbled with
blackish markings. Urbanus species
typically have a fairly plain underside marked with parallel dark
bands, although in several species the inner band is broken up into
a series of 3 or 4 large blotches.
are 34 Urbanus species, distributed
variously from Texas to Paraguay and Argentina.
Urbanus belli is a widespread but uncommon species, found
from Mexico to Argentina.
Maria, Peru ©
This butterfly is associated with disturbed habitats including
forest glades, tracks and clearings,
between about 200-1000m.
The eggs of
Urbanus species are typically cream or
greenish in colour, barrel-shaped and have about 15 vertical ridges.
They are laid in small clusters on the undersurface of leaves.
foodplants of belli are unrecorded but
probably include several herbaceous members of the family
Leguminosae. The larvae of other Urbanus
species live solitarily within a shelter constructed by rolling up a
leaf of the foodplant and lining the inside with silk.
are usually seen singly, basking with wings half-open on low foliage.
In overcast weather or at dawn they will sometimes bask with wings
fully outspread, but like most Urbanus
species they are acutely aware of what is going on around them, and
are nervous and energetic, taking flight immediately if disturbed.
Even if frequently disturbed however the males will repeatedly return
to the same perch, or one of several regularly used perches in the
immediate vicinity. They have a very rapid whirring flight, dashing
back and forth, and often circling unnoticed around an observer and
settling behind him or her.
feed at bird droppings, and sometimes imbibe mineralised moisture from
damp roadsides and riverbanks.
belli, Satipo, Peru ©