Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas
Back To (Linnaeus (1761)
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Snall sized: wingspan, .
26 - 36mm Fast Flyying
Both sexes have very similar colour-patterning. The upper surfaces of the forewings are orange brown with a dark brown band down the outer edge and a number of dark brown spots on their outer half. The upper surfaces of the hind wings are grey brown with an irregular, orange brown band along their hind margins. The under surfaces of the forewings are orange brown with a dusky outside border and a number of white-edged dark spots. The undersides of the hind-wings are a warm grey brown with an indistinct orange band just inside their hind margins and small dark spots scattered over the inner two thirds of each wing
The Small Copper forms rather loose colonies centred on their larval food plants and adults spend much of their time making short flights around the breeding site looking for females and feeding on flowers. Males are particularly fond of positioning themselves on flowers to bask in the sun and from which they launch attacks against any other small butterflies
intruding onto their territory. This species typically has three broods a year with the third generation caterpillars over-wintering.
The over-wintering caterpillar pupates at the end of March or beginning of May and first brood adults are on the wing in early May. After a developmental period of about two months, the second brood adults emerge in the first half of July and the third brood in late September / early October. The preferred food plants of the caterpillars are Docks and Sorrels - Sheeps Sorrel, Rumex acetosella, and Common Sorrel, Rumex acetosa.There are typically 2 or 3 generations each year, depending on the weather, with 4 generations in extremely good years. The first adults emerge in May, occasionally at the end of April, with the last adults being seen around the middle of October, depending on location.
The Small Copper favours warm, species-rich short grassland such as is found in non-intensively managed fields, cemeteries, cliffs and woodland rides. It is also commonly found on derelict and waste sites such as old quarries and abandoned railway lines as well as on heathland
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