Long-tailed Skipper Urbanus proteus

One of the tailed skippers. In Arkansas, you can only hope to see one species unless one of the other Urbanus longtails slips up from Texas sometime in the future. Note that greenish-blue head. That color extends onto the body and back into the central hairiness between the wings. Striking things, longtails have a strange cocked-back flight style due, no doubt, to the weight of that tail pipe. The tails, it should be noted, can sometimes be worn or torn off. And then it looks like a very odd Cloudywing.

I've seen only one of these in Arkansas. It flew right into my neighborhood. In most of Arkansas, it is basically a stray. Mostly in the major river valleys and in the southwest. Does appear in yards and gardens when it makes its way here. A fast flier. Those tails give it a distinctive flight line.  Norm Lavers sees them virtually every year in his NE Arkansas gardens. This is his shot.

Shot from Florida where these are much more common. Shows the central blue-green coloration which is present on both sexes. None of the Texas longtails show this greening. It is also absent on the other common Florida longtail, the Dorantes Longtail, Urbanus dorantes.

The longtails all go down into Central America. This is from Panama and is the exterior of the Dorantes Longtail. You can see the blue is absent here.

The second record of this Dorantes species in AR in the SW where Mike Dillon and Charles Mills located one.

There is a group in Urbanus with the stripes on the forewing instead of spots. Several also in Texas and down into the tropics. I think this is likely U. procne, from Panama. Much less accentuated stripe than several of the other south ranging species.

And a stronger line-marked species also from Panama. This is likely Urbanus teleus, but sometimes U. tanna is very tough to separate from photos.