Dorantes Longtail

The family Hesperiidae, including the skippers, duskywings and cloudywings, is an exercise in frustration for field identification: 3500 species of “medium size, brown butterflies with spots” and varying patterns on the wing fringes. Add in the vagaries of amateur entomologist photography and, well.

I originally identified this as a southern cloudywing, Thorybes bathyllus, based on the single white scales making tiny white spots on the wings, and on photos like these from the Alabama Butterfly Atlas.

However, three smart people at iNaturalist think this is a Dorantes longtail, Urbanus dorantes, which has had the long “tails” on its hindwings ripped off somehow. (An image search turns up some other longtails without their tails, so this is entirely possible.) I humbly cede identification to them, because they are certainly smarter than I am. 🙂

The Dorantes longtail is similar to the long-tailed skipper, but without the green-blue iridescence.

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