American copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.
FAMILY: Gossamer-wing Butterflies (Lycaenidae)
SUBFAMILY: Coppers (Lycaeninae)
IDENTIFICATION: Upper surface of forewing shiny, fiery orange-red
with black spots; hindwing gray with orange-red outer margin.
Underside gray; hindwing with submarginal row of orange-red zigzags.
LIFE HISTORY: Males perch on grass or weeds to look for females. Eggs
are laid singly on host plant stems or leaves. Young caterpillars chew
holes in the underside of leaves; older ones make channels in the leaf
tissue. Chrysalids overwinter.
FLIGHT: One flight from July-September for alpine and arctic
populations. Two flights in the north from June-July and August-
September; three flights in the south from April-September.
WING SPAN: 7/8 - 1 3/8 inches (2.2 - 3.5 cm).
CATERPILLAR HOSTS: Herbs of the buckwheat (Polygonaceae) family
including sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), curled dock (Rumex crispus),
and Oxyria digyna.
ADULT FOOD: Nectar from many flowers including common buttercup,
white clover, butterflyweed, yarrow, ox-eye daisy, and various
HABITAT: In disturbed places in the East including pastures, landfills,
vacant lots, road edges, old fields; rocky places in alpine habitats, and
tundra in the arctic.
RANGE: Nova Scotia south to Georgia, Tennessee, and Arkansas; west
across Great Lake states to North Dakota. Native populations found in
the Arctic and the western mountains. Comments: Eastern and midwest
populations probably result from an introduction from Scandinavia
during the colonial period.
CONSERVATION: Not usually required.
NATURESERVE GLOBAL STATUS: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally,
though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the
MANAGEMENT NEEDS: None reported.
SKY MEADOWS OCCURRENCE:
Note: Due to seasonal conditions in this region, occurrence may vary from
year to year. The designation of occurrence may range over two or more
categories and may vary even during a single season.
Key to Checklist
A Abundant: Easy to see very large numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
C Common: Usually each to see good numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
U Uncommon: Sometimes found in appropriate habitat and proper time of year,
usually in low numbers.
O Occasional: Found in appropriate habitat perhaps only a few times a year, usually
in low numbers.
R Rare: Small chance of being found, even in appropriate habitat at proper time of
year. There are few individuals and may not be present every year.
X Extirpated: Formerly present, no longer occurs in Sky Meadows Park.
Crooked Run Valley