Fun Long-tailed Skipper Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Long-tailed Skipper Facts For Kids

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The long-tailed skipper, Urbanus proteus, belongs to the Lepidoptera order of insects. This skipper is known to go through a metamorphosis. This transition can be observed through four stages: eggs turn into larvae or caterpillars, and these change into a pupa or a chrysalis before finally taking their ideal shape as butterflies. The lifecycle of this insect ranges between 15 days and a month long. This skipper has a pair of dark wings with a few white bands and great hues of green and blue flashing on its back. These insects are named after their two long-tails that follow the line of their hindwings.

These butterflies cannot survive in extremely cold climates and hence, are usually seen in Florida, Texas, and Mexico. During the summer season, they might also be seen in the parks and grasslands of New York and Illinois. They usually prefer open habitat areas which is why you might be able to spot them in meadows, woodland edges, and open fields with loads of flowers and plants.

For more relatable content, check out these morpho butterfly facts and purple emperor butterfly facts for kids.

Fun Long-tailed Skipper Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

1.5-2.1 in (4-5.4 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown and iridescent blue-green

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Stink Bugs And Wasps

What is their conservation status?

Not Evlauated

Where you'll find them?

Coastal Areas, Grasslands, Forests, Gardens, Chaparral


North America, Mexico, South America, Florida, New York, Illinois, Southern Texas, The West Indies









Long-Tailed Skipper Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a long-tailed skipper?

The long-tailed skipper, Urbanus proteus, is a butterfly that belongs to the Hesperriidae family of animals.

What class of animal does a long-tailed skipper belong to?

These skipper butterflies belong to the Insecta class of animals.

How many long-tailed skippers are there in the world?

Even though the long-tailed skipper, Urbanus proteus, is not endangered, the exact population of this species is not known.

Where does a long-tailed skipper live?

The range of long-tailed skippers, Urbanus proteus, is endemic to the regions of North, South, and Central America, Argentina, and the West Indies. These butterflies are mainly spotted in Florida, Mexico, New York, southern Texas, southern California, and Alabama.

What is a long-tailed skipper's habitat?

The long-tailed skipper, Urbanus proteus, prefers to fly near the wisteria plant or any other plants in open grasslands, forests, or gardens. Their habitat also consists of locations that are near coastal dunes, brushy fields, and woodlands with many plants and flowers. This species of butterflies cannot survive extremely cold climates and hence, they try to live in tropical and temperate zone across the globe. Thus, they are rarely spotted migrating. However, you might see a few of them in New York and Illinois during the summer.

Who do long-tailed skippers live with?

Like most other butterflies, the long-tailed skipper, Urbanus proteus, is a solitary insect. Butterflies of this species mostly engage with each other during the mating season and other than this they wander alone, especially while foraging.

How long does a long-tailed skipper live?

The long-tailed skipper butterfly usually has a lifespan of 30 days.

How do they reproduce?

The long-tailed skipper, Urbanus proteus, has its mating season during springtime. An adult male butterfly tries to find an adult female on the mating grounds. These adults, after pairing up together, engage in a courtship ritual that consists of them taking flight together in circles. After mating, the female lays around 20 white-yellow eggs in a small clutch of two to six eggs under a host plant's leaves. The wisteria plant or the butterfly pea are considered the main host plants of these butterflies.

Once the eggs hatch, the green larvae and caterpillars feed on the host plant's beans and leaves. The caterpillar is usually considered to be a pest to these crop plants as it creates small holes on the bean or leaf that it feeds off. These caterpillars have also been named the beans leafroller due to this behavior. The long-tailed skipper caterpillar then rolls the leaf around itself and seals it with its silk to develop into a pupa. This chrysalis is brownish in color. This chrysalis requires around a week or two to transform into a fully grown long-tailed skipper, Urbanus proteus.

What is their conservation status?

These skippers have been listed under the Secure category under the NatureServe conservation status system. It is currently Not Listed by the IUCN. Their main threats are wasps and stink bugs.

Long-Tailed Skipper Fun Facts

What do long-tailed skippers look like?

These butterflies might be confused with moths due to their appearance. This is mainly due to their two long tails and their brown or tan color. These butterflies go through different life stages and have different appearances throughout. The eggs are usually small drops of cream-white or yellow that hatch into larvae or caterpillars. The caterpillar is green in color with a black head and a yellow-orange tint on its body. The pupa is reddish-brown and is usually created by the caterpillar rolling itself into the leaf it feeds on and wrapping itself in silk. The newly transformed long-tailed skipper, Urbanus proteus, butterfly has an iridescent blue-green body with a pair of dark wings on the upper side and a band of off-white on it. The underpart of the wing is usually light brown in color and their head is big with dark eyes.

The long-tailed skipper butterfly has brown-colored wing underparts and two tails at the back.

How cute are they?

As caterpillars they may not be considered cute but the long-tailed skipper (Urbanus proteus) butterfly is super cute!

How do they communicate?

These butterflies have a strong sense of smell and are known to communicate with the help of their olfactory system and by sensing pheromones in their surroundings.

How big is a long-tailed skipper?

The long-tailed skipper (Urbanus proteus) has a body as big as 1.5-2.1 in (4-5.4 cm), making it a bit smaller than the monarch butterfly, which is around 3-4 in (7.62-10.16 cm) long. This species of skippers has a wingspan that may range anywhere between 1.7-2.3 in (4.5-6 cm).

How fast can a long-tailed skipper fly?

Even though the exact speed of these butterflies' flight is not known, they've been perceived to be quick and erratic butterflies with long tails.

How much does a long-tailed skipper weigh?

This skipper butterfly is one of the smallest-looking butterflies, but the species' exact weight is not known.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no separate name that can be used to identify a male and female insect of this species.

What would you call a baby long-tailed skipper?

An egg of this species hatches into a baby caterpillar.

What do they eat?

This species is herbivorous in nature. Young caterpillars feed on the leaf of the host plant as well as beans and peas, which is precisely why they are considered to be a pest species. Adults fly across different gardens to feed on the nectar produced by flowers. They eat wisteria and butterfly peas flower nectar.

Are they dangerous?

Although they are not particularly dangerous, they lay eggs on bean plants and crops. When the resulting caterpillars feed on the host plants they might leave behind damaged crops.

Would they make a good pet?

Unlike other butterflies, these skippers have fragile bodies and wings. Due to this and their short lifespan, they're rarely advised to be kept as a pet.

Did you know...

In the United States, caterpillars of these skippers have been named the bean leafroller. This is mainly because larvae feed on the beans and leaves of their host plants.

Are long-tailed skippers endemic?

Yes, they are endemic to the Americas. They are usually found in Nearctic and Neotropic regions in the world.

Where do long-tailed skippers lay their eggs?

These insects lay around 20 eggs in small clutches of two to six eggs, usually under the leaves of their host plants.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our ghost ant facts and queen butterfly facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable long tailed skipper coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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