North American Butterflies and Moths List

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U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Esmeralda Longtail (Urbanus esmeraldus)
JPG -- species photo

Esmeralda Longtail (Urbanus esmeraldus [Butler])

Wing span: 1 3/8 - 1 5/8 inches (3.5 - 4.2 cm).

Identification: Long tails. Upperside is dark blackish brown; body and wing bases are iridescent blue-green. Males have a costal fold enclosing scent scales on the forewing. Dark row on hindwing underside consists of separate spots.

Life history: Eggs are laid on young leaves of the host plant, which caterpillars eat.

Flight: Many flights from April-October in Mexico; August in South Texas.

Caterpillar hosts: Beggar's ticks (Desmodium).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Open subtropical woods and edges.

Range: Brazil and Paraguay north through the tropics to Mexico. A rare stray north to the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.

Conservation: Not necessary for a rare stray.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Management needs: None reported.


Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson 
     field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, 
     Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

Esmeralda Longtail (Urbanus esmeraldus)
distribution map
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