The Long-tailed Skipper butterfly (Urbanus proteus) is a common butterfly in the southeastern US.
This species flies in most of the eastern United States as well as the extreme southern edge of western United States. (It is also found in Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.)
Host plants include bean plants, pea plants, beggar weeds, hog peanuts, and wisteria.
Eggs are often laid in stacks underneath leaves.
This species is known for laying eggs on Woolly Pipevine, which is not a host plant. Caterpillars hatch, cut the leaf and make a tiny nest, but eventually die after a few days.
When disturbed, caterpillars spit a bright green fluid.
Caterpillar make a nest out of a leaf or leaves and spend their time in the nest when they are not eating. These are frass (poop) flinging caterpillars. The fling their frass away from their nests.
Older caterpillars may use several leaves to create a nest and/or may make a nest of leaves of a plant that is next to their host plant instead of on the host plant itself.
Red marks on their heads resemble eyes. When inside a nest, if light enters the end of the nest, it looks as if an animal with glowing eyes is waiting inside the nest.
Gonads are visible through the skin/cuticle of older caterpillars. This is one species that you can tell whether a caterpillar is a male or female. The gonads are seen 2/3 of the way down their bodies.
Before a caterpillar pupates, it often turns orange. It goes into its nest of leaves and produces a waxy coating and pupates into a chrysalis in the nest itself.
Male adult butterflies often perch in a spot overlooking an area he considers his territory. He will fly at almost anything that moves in that area. If it is a female Long-tailed Skipper, he will try to pair with her. If it is anything else, he will try to chase it away. If one hits you, it wasn’t because it didn’t see you. It was because he DID see you.