A long-tailed skipper is a medium-sized butterfly belonging to the Animal Kingdom. The species is characterized by a large head and a pair of prominent dark eyes. Its hairy body consists of long, distinctive hindwing tails.
This skipper has a pair of dark brown wings and a dorsal forewing. The butterfly’s band has large white glassy spots on the outer half of the forewing. Its body and wing bases are captivating, with hues of bluish-green or iridescent green flashing on it.
5 Unbelievable Facts About Long-Tailed Skipper
The species is named after its two long tails that follow the line of its hindwings.
Discover 5 unbelievable facts about this insect.
Long-Tailed Skipper Go Through a Metamorphosis
The biology of a Long-tailed skipper is that it goes through four life cycle stages. The first life cycle is the egg stage, where the eggs are tiny drops of cream-white or light yellow. The eggs are laid either singly or in short stacks on host leaves. Eggs hatch into larvae or caterpillars, which is the second life stage of the Long-tailed skippers.
The caterpillar is yellow-green with black speckling. The dorsal line is black, while the lateral band is yellow but changes to orange towards the rear. The larvae’s head is black with reddish-brown patches on the lower margin.
The third life stage is called chrysalis or pupal. The pupa is reddish-brown with a white waxy covering that perfectly mingles with the dead leaves of its host plant. This tinge is created when the caterpillar rolls itself into the leaf it feeds on, sealing itself in silk.
The fourth stage is when a pupa develops into a Long-tailed skipper.
Long-tailed Skippers Have a Highly Developed Sense of Smell
The male butterflies find potential mates through olfaction. Skippers also produce pheromones to entice the opposite sex. Mostly, the scent created is similar to the flowers that they are drawn to.
Long-Tailed Skippers Mate in Springtime
Long-tailed skippers are solitary insects that will primarily interact with each other during mating season. In Spring, the male butterfly takes the lead by searching for a female skipper on the mating grounds.
The two adult skippers pair together and engage in courtship. During mating season, the two adults form a duo and take flight together in circles. This is contrary to their norm of wandering alone, especially while foraging.
Sexual Dimorphism Is Present in Long-Tailed Skippers
Sexual dimorphism is a source of variation between male and female Long-tailed skippers. The long tails can be viewed distinctly when the wings are spread out. The dorsal side is brownish-black, while the bases of the wings depict shades of iridescent bluish-green.
Unlike the female skipper, the male butterfly displays a costal fold along the leading edge of the pair of the forewing. The underside of each hindwing forms a dark row as both form a complete band.
Skippers display the same color scheme when the wings are closed, except for the bluish-green tint.
Butterfly Pea Plant is the Main Host of Long-Tailed Skippers
The female skipper mainly lays their eggs on the butterfly pea plant. Adult butterflies are not limited to specific nectar plants. However, Wisteria and butterfly peas flower nectar is their primary source of food.
The larvae are host specific and feed on the leaf of the leguminous host plant, such as bean plants. Although it takes many larvae to impact the yield, they are considered pest species.
Long-tail skippers are butterflies with fragile bodies and wings. They love to wander alone and will socialize only when mating. The species has a highly developed sense of smell, a characteristic that plays a crucial role when courting.