Butterflies of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance

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Once on a species account page, clicking on the "View PDF" link will show the flight data for that species, for each of the three regions of the state.
Other information, such as high counts and earliest/latest dates, can also been seen on the PDF page.

Related Species in HESPERIIDAE:
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Common NameLong-tailed Skipper by Scott Hartley => Weymouth Woods-SNP, 2005-10-14
[View PDF]
Click to enlarge
[Google Images]     BoA [Images ]
Scientific NameUrbanus proteus
Link to BAMONA species account.
MapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
DistributionDISTRIBUTION: Records scattered across all parts of the state, though it is primarily found in the Coastal Plain, and is quite scarce in the northwestern part of the state.
AbundanceABUNDANCE: A post-breeding migrant from the south and thus quite erratic in numbers from one year to the next; may be fairly common to common in some years in fall near the southern coast, north to Carteret and Craven counties. However, in some years it can be quite uncommon there and elsewhere in the Coastal Plain. Normally uncommon through the remainder of the Coastal Plain and the eastern and southern Piedmont; rare to very rare in the southern mountains. Numbers are reduced in years following severe winters, and also during and after drought conditions farther to the south.
FlightFLIGHT PERIOD: In NC, primarily from mid-July, rarely in June, to late November, and sparingly into mid-December. Peak numbers are in October, later than most skippers. Whether broods are actually produced in the latter half of the fall season is not clear from the flight charts or field experience.
HabitatHABITAT: Habitats are typical of those of southern migrants -- fields, gardens, woodland edges, and other "non-specialized" habitats where plenty of flowers are blooming. It does occur in savannas and flatwoods well away from civilization.
See also Habitat Account for General Fields, Gardens, and Ruderal Habitats
PlantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: The foodplants are various legumes (Fabaceae). The species nectars on many flowers, including deep-throated ones such as morning-glories (Ipomoea spp.), which most butterflies avoid.
CommentsCOMMENTS: This is one of our most striking butterflies, and it is one of the few skippers that would catch the attention of the layman. The species seems to have been quite numerous in North Carolina in 1994, 1995, and 1998. In fact, I had some daily counts of 100+ at Holly Shelter Game Land in October 1995. However, numbers were much reduced in the state in fall 1996; numbers rebounded somewhat in 1997, but not back to 1995 levels. The year 2001 was another very poor year, with just two reports for the entire Piedmont. Numbers in 2002 and 2003 were somewhat "normal", with the all-time state count set in 2003, on the rather late date of November 2. Numbers have been low since 2003 and in most years since then; the peak daily counts were all between 1995 and 2003. On the other hand, 2012 was a banner year, with a whopping 137 reports across the state, probably the most in over 20 years. Sadly, only nine records were made in 2013, all in the Coastal Plain! The flights rebounded somewhat from 2014-2016, though there were only roughly 25 reports statewide in each of these years. In 2019, a fairly good flight was noted, with 72 reports; but with only 171 individuals in total, there were few if any concentrations of the skippers. In 2020, there was an excellent flight into the state, with at last 7 new county records, and nearly 200 records across the state! Three more county records were added in 2021, with 77 reports across the state, a moderate year for it.
State RankS4B
State Status
Global RankG5
Federal Status
Other Name

Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo Gallery for Long-tailed Skipper
Photo by: Scott Hartley
Comment: Sandhills Game Land, 2005-Oct-08
Long-tailed Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Roger Rittmaster
Comment: Durham Co.
Long-tailed Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Dennis M Forsythe
Comment: 2020-11-04. Charleston Co., SC
Long-tailed Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Mark Shields
Comment: 2017-09-24. Onslow Co.
Long-tailed Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Will Stuart
Comment: October 16, 2020. Horry County, SC
Long-tailed Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Jessie Summers
Comment: Lee Co.; 2018-Oct-13
Long-tailed Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Marty and Mark Fancy
Comment: Oct 23, 2014. Craven Co.
Long-tailed Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Floyd Williams
Comment: Gates Co.
Long-tailed Skipper - Click to enlarge