Butterflies of the
Amazon and Andes
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
tribe - EUDAMINI
Otun-Quimbaya, Colombia ©
The 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
The 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
The forewings 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
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
There are 34 Urbanus species,
distributed variously from Texas to Paraguay and Argentina.
Urbanus teleus is a common and
widespread species, found from Mexico to Brazil and Peru.
Like most Urbanus species this
butterfly is usually associated with disturbed habitats including
forest glades and clearings, roadsides and pastures, at altitudes
between sea level and about 1200m.
Urbanus teleus, Catarata Bayoz, La
Merced, Peru ©
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.
The butterflies are usually seen singly or in two's and three's. In
cool or overcast conditions they bask on low foliage with wings
flattened, but with the forewings overlapping the hindwings. If they
are disturbed they usually resettle on nearby herbage. In hot sunny
conditions the wings are held erect over the back.
Urbanus teleus, Santa Fe de Antioquoia,
Colombia © Adrian