Mexico, USA & Canada
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
tribe - EUDAMINI
© Adrian Hoskins
subfamily Pyrginae are characterised by their habit of basking with
wings outspread, compared to the half-open position favoured by the
tribe Eudamini includes 44 genera.
about 95 species of long-tailed Skippers, assigned to various genera
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.
There are 34
Urbanus species, distributed variously
from Texas to Paraguay and Argentina.
Urbanus proteus is common and widespread species, found from
the southern USA 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 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 proteus include many
herbaceous members of the family Leguminosae, including cultivated
peas, beans and soya. The larva lives solitarily within a shelter
constructed by rolling up a leaf of the foodplant and lining the
inside with silk - hence the caterpillars are commonly known as bean
leaf-rollers. They are considered a pest in the southern United
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, zipping
back and forth, 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. Females
visit Eupatorium and other flowers for
nectar. When seeking oviposition sites they flit constantly back and
forth from leaf to leaf, testing the chemical composition of various
plants by using olfactory sensors in their feet.