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
composites.


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
periphery.


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.

 

      January

      February

      March

      April
      May

      June

      July

      August

      September

      October

      November

      December

 

 

Back to Inventory of Butterfly Families and Species

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