- Photo: Ned Harris, www.flickr.com/photos/ned_harris
When perched with its wings closed, the butterfly can look much like a dead leaf, the snout appearing to be the stem of the leaf.
The American Snout belongs to a small group of peculiar looking butterflies found worldwide.
Snout butterflies have exceptionally long palpi that form a beak-like extension or “snout” in front of the face and eyes. This snout is thought to contribute to the butterfly’s camouflage. When perched with its wings closed, the butterfly can look much like a dead leaf, the snout appearing to be the stem of the leaf.
American Snouts have a wing span of about 1.5 inches and the tips of the forewing are squared off. They are brown above with orange at the base and inner margin of the forewing, and white spots on the outer half of the forewing . The underside of the hindwing is mottled or smooth gray. They are active year-round, especially in the late summer.
Males patrol near host trees to seek females. The females lay their eggs exclusively on hackberry trees which are the larval food plant. Adults nectar at a wide variety of flowers. Male “puddle parties” can number in the hundreds following summer rains. Adults overwinter in S.E. Arizona and may be seen on warm winter days.
Snouts are masters of deception in flight and are frequently misidentified. In Texas and Arizona, massive flights have been recorded but are highly unpredictable. These late summer migration flights sometimes number in the millions and get lots of media coverage.
The author has observed American Snouts in Lower Sabino around the creek on multiple occasions.