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American Copper Lycaena phlaeas

 

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American Copper
credit: Ettore Balocchi/CCSA

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Family: Lycaenidae, Gossamer-wing Butterflies view all from this family



Description The Small Copper, American Copper, or the Common Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) is a butterfly of the Lycaenids or gossamer-winged butterfly family.

The upperside forewings are a bright orange with a dark outside edge border and with eight or nine black spots. The hindwings are dark with an orange border. Some females also have a row of blue spots inside the orange border and are known as form caeruleopunctata. The undersides are patterned in a similar way but are paler. The black spots on the forewings are outlined in yellow and the dark colouring is replaced by a pale brownish, gray. The hindwings are the same brown/grey colour with small black dots and a narrow orange border. The caterpillars (larvae) are usually green, but some have a purple stripe down the middle of the back and along each side.

It is widespread and common across Europe, Asia, and North America, and also found in North Africa south through to Ethiopia.

It can be found almost anywhere in south/central England and Wales although never, it seems, in large numbers. Its distribution becomes more patchy in northern England, Scotland and Ireland.


Dimensions 7/8-1 1/8" (22-28 mm).


Habitat Alpine & subalpine habitats, Canyons & caves, Cities, suburbs & towns, Meadows & fields, Scrub, shrub & brushlands.


Range Great Lakes, Florida, Alaska, Northwest, Western Canada, Eastern Canada, California, Rocky Mountains, Plains, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, New England, Southeast.


 

 

 

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