Home / Gossamer-Winged (Lycaenidae) / Common Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

Common Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

Common Copper Butterfly butterfly-conservation.org

The Common Copper is a species of very widespread butterflies native to various parts of the world. They are known for their contrasting wings in bright orange and black.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Genus: Lycaena
  • Common names: Small Copper Butterfly, American Copper Butterfly
  • Scientific Name: Lycaena phlaeas

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

Small Copper Butterfly Caterpillar butterfly-conservation.org

Almost all larvae, in general, are green, though some have a purple line along the middle of the dorsal side, as also, both the sides of the body. They consume the underside of the leaf creating typical window-like patterns.

Pupa

Common Copper Butterfly Pupa flickr.com

The chrysalis is formed in the leaf litter and is thought to be tended by ants present in the host plants. It looks quite like a shelled groundnut with beige to blackish-beige color.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Present

Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the upper parts of the forewings show a brilliant orange coloration bordered with a dark edge border and a few spots in black. The hind wings are almost an inverse contrast with a dark base color, bordered with orange. A few of the females display a row of bluish marks inside the orange border. When the wings are closed, it shows a similar design and pattern, though much faint. Females, in general, have notably fewer black spots on their wings.

American Copper Butterfly naba.org

Common Copper Butterfly Pictures i.pinimg.com

Average wingspan: .2 to 4.8 cm (1.3 to 1.9 inches)

Flight pattern: Fast

Eggs

Common Copper Butterfly Eggs dispar.org

Eggs look unique being round and flat and bearing cavities in a circular pattern. They are laid singly on the upper side of the host plant leaves.

Quick Facts

Distribution Throughout Europe, Asia, and North America, and some parts of Africa
Habitat Wide variety including heathland, woodland clearings, chalk downlands, waste ground in cities
Lifespan of adults Around two weeks
Host plants Primarily, common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) and sheep’s sorrel (Rumex acetosella)
Adult diet Flower nectar

Did You Know?

  • They are the most active in the bright sunny days.
  • The specific name phlaeas is thought to have derived from either a Greek word ‘phlego’, meaning “to burn up”, or else, from the Latin ‘floreo’, which means “to flourish”.
  • During mating season, the males become so territorial that, they would even get agitated seeing the shadow of large birds.

Lycaena Phlaeas learnaboutbutterflies.com

Small Copper Butterfly Images bp.blogspot.com

Small Copper Butterfly learnaboutbutterflies.com

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Scientific Classification

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Genus: Lycaena
  • Common names: Small Copper Butterfly, American Copper Butterfly
  • Scientific Name: Lycaena phlaeas