American Snout

When I first saw this butterfly I knew immediately it wasn’t a species I’d seen before at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Who could forget that nose?!

This butterfly has the longest nose of any butterfly I’ve ever seen. Technically this “nose” is made up of elongated mouthparts, but whoever named the species must have agreed with me that it looks like a nose as they named it an “American Snout.”

As unlikely as it may seem, these butterflies actually use their Pinocchio-like snouts for camouflage. When they land on a twig and sit still with their wings closed, they look like dried-up leaves and their noses look like stems. However, it doesn’t work very well when the butterfly lands on a railing, as in the photo.

This isn’t a common species in our area, but Nature Boardwalk does provide key habitat features that may help explain its presence at the pond. American Snout caterpillars eat hackberry, which is one of the many plant species found at Nature Boardwalk. Also, adults drink nectar from a variety of flowers blooming at the pond, including the particularly abundant black-eyed susans.

Stop by to see if you can spot one yourself!

Vicky Hunt


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