Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
tribe - EUDAMINI
Madre de Dios, 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 simplicius is one of the commonest and most
widespread members of the genus, being found from the southern
United States to Bolivia.
Like most Urbanus species this
butterfly is usually associated with disturbed habitats including
forest glades and clearings, roadsides and pastures,
between sea level and about 1500m.
The eggs of
Urbanus 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. The foodplants
vary from species to species, but are usually either grasses or
herbs in the family Leguminosae.
In the northern part of it's range simplicius
feeds mainly on Phaseolus, but in
Brazil Schrankia is favoured.
are usually seen singly, basking with wings half-open on low foliage.
In overcast weather they will sometimes bask with wings fully
feed at bird droppings, and sometimes imbibe mineralised moisture from
damp roadsides and riverbanks. Females
visit Eupatorium and other flowers for