Butterfly Bucket: White-striped Long Tail Skipper

Butterfly Bucket time. Anna at the Transmutational Garden hosts this event each month. This month she is highlighting the Gulf Fritillary.

I did see some monarchs. I had to check with BugGuide because I had my doubts. Soldiers are far more likely for this time of year.

But, I decided to put some skippers into my bucket instead. Many were flying around the pond a couple of weeks ago before the great devastation (don’t ask). Most were very shy and not wasting a moment. My picture taking turned into a fool’s errand — a lot of sweat for a lot of meaningless blurs. I decided to just call it a comedy and let it go. Of course, not soon after, I found this fellow enjoying a calm sip at the blue sage party.

white-striped longtail skipper
white-striped longtail skipper

Skipper faces are always so cute! It must be the big eyes. The tail is very long. The white stripe is bright. Unmistakable. Except when doing an internet search. Beware: there is another butterfly called the long-tailed skipper. But its tail is much shorter and it doesn’t have the white stripe.

white-striped longtail skipper3 aug 2015
white-striped longtail skipper

They live year round in South Texas, Arizona and other places closer to the equator but some years groups will fly up to our area (Central Texas) for a summer vacation. The host plants are legumes.

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23 thoughts on “Butterfly Bucket: White-striped Long Tail Skipper

  1. You said not to ask, so of course I am asking, hoping its resolved. Your long tailed Skippers are really attractive, we have species of Skipper over here but none with such a long tail.

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    1. Thanks, Julie. Until last year I didn’t even know skippers existed! They seem to be something between a moth and a butterfly and I can’t believe my second grade teacher didn’t share this info. I spent a whole lifetime in the dark. haha. About the field devastation: it hasn’t been resolved but it has been a learning experience.

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  2. Nice photos and good job of capturing the whole subject with its long tail. I agree skippers are cute. I think in one of my posts last year I called them the puppy dogs of the butterfly world. I’ve never seen this type of skipper before, thanks for sharing.

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  3. I need to take note of any skippers in the garden as I don’t think I have seen many if any…fabulous close up with the eyes and long tail.

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  4. Great shots! I am totally smitten with skippers despite my frustration over how many there are that so alike in appearance that I rarely feel confident with my identifications. You have to love a skipper with such clearly defined markings and features, yeah? And you are right – those big eyes are quite fetching!

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    1. Most of the time I am ok with just calling them all skippers. So funny though. My husband saw that photo and was horrified by the big ‘souless’ eyes and horrific tongue. One person’s beauty is another’s horror I guess.

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      1. Well that IS fascinating. I see big eyes and respond with affection as programmed since that eye size signals “young of the species”. Maybe that is an estrogen thing? : )

        I feel him on that tongue thing though. Whoa, Nellie!

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  5. Great photos!! As always.:) I have these skippers in my gardens–not this year (so far), but in other years. Their little faces are cute and remarkable expressive. There are so many skippers, that my mind sort of glazes over, but they’re such interesting and important pollinators.

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    1. Yeah. I don’t usually bother to track down skipper names. I mean … even the experts need to use tools like microscopes … crazy. But they are fun to have around.

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  6. I like the long tails. I wonder why nature evolved this adaptation. It would be a stabilizer from an aerodynamic point of view. Maybe it helps them fly better in straight lines from place to place. ???

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    1. That is certainly possible. I read that they are quite brittle and break easily which makes me think that they might be a distraction device in the way that lizard tails are. Or maybe the butterflies just thought they looked dashing ….

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    1. I know! When I saw the first one I had to wonder if it might be some kind of swallowtail. But looking closely I could see the body was all wrong — much too moth-like.

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