Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly - Bean Leafroller - Urbanus proteus
Family: Hesperiidae - Skippers
/ Subfamily: Hesperiinae - Grass skippers
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Live adult skipper butterflies photographed at Alpharetta, Georgia
Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly

The long tailed skipper butterfly's larva is also commonly known as the bean leafroller. It is a common agricultural pest throughout the southeastern U.S. These pictures were taken near Alpharetta, GA.

Bean leafroller larvae feed on the foliage of legumes (beans, cowpeas, lima beans, snap peas and soybeans,etc.), and are notable for the habit of making a shelter by rolling over leaves and lining the inside with silk. This shelter is used during feeding and an even larger shelter is constructed for pupation. The caterpillars are accomplished defoliators, but fairly large numbers of them are required to actually kill a plant. Long tailed skipper caterpillars are preyed upon by certain tachinid flies, Polistes (paper) wasps, and stinkbugs (Hemiptera family Pentatomidae). More information on these garden pests can be found at the featured creature website, by the University of Florida.

I was actually sorry to learn this captivating skipper is a pest. It's one of the largest skippers out there, and an energetic, entertaining creature to pursue and photograph.

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Order Lepidoptera, which contains both butterflies and moths, includes at least 125,000 known species including 12,000 in North America. Butterflies are revered for their brightly colored wings and pleasing association with fair weather and flowers.
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