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American snout

American snout (Libytheana carinenta)
Photos © Mary Kay Rubey

Features and Behaviors

The American snout is a small, brown butterfly with a wingspan of one and five-eighths to two inches. The front edge of the forewing is squared. The upperside of the forewing has white spots and orange patches. The underside of the hindwing is either mottled or gray. The male has small front legs that are not used for walking. The female has all six legs of normal length. Long mouthparts produce the appearance of a snout on the adult. This insect undergoes complete metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa, adult). The caterpillar is dark green with yellow stripes on the sides and in the middle of the back. The front of the caterpillar’s body is swollen and has two black projections.

The American snout may be found statewide in Illinois. It lives in bottomland forests, swamps and brushy fields. Eggs are laid on the leaves of hackberry and sugarberry trees, and the larvae feed on these leaves. Two broods are produced each year. Adults overwinter. Flower nectar provides food for adults. When at rest, the adult looks like a dead leaf.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae

Illinois Status: common, native