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Ecology, conservation and threats of Lycaena phlaeas. Species page, life cycle and photos. Lycaena phlaeas (Linnaeus, ). Family: Lycaenidae. Subfamily: Lycaeninae. Identification: Upper surface of forewing shiny, fiery orange-red with black spots. Lycaena phlaeas, the small copper, American copper, or common copper, is a butterfly of the Lycaenids or gossamer-winged butterfly family. According to  Species‎: ‎L. phlaeas.


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Nectar from many flowers including common buttercup, white clover, butterflyweed, yarrow, ox-eye daisy, and various composites.


In disturbed places in the East including pastures, landfills, vacant lots, lycaena phlaeas edges, old fields; rocky places in alpine habitats, and tundra in the arctic. Lycaena phlaeas flies in several generations per year and can lycaena phlaeas found from April to October, rarely also later November.

The half-grown caterpillar overwinters.

North American Butterfly Association. Doubleday, Doran, and Company. Butterflies and Skippers of Ohio.

Ohio Biological Survey Bulletin, Vol. Manual of North American Butterflies.

Lycaena phlaeas (Small Copper)

DeWolfe, Fiske, and Company. Lepidopterists' Society Memoir No. Pupation takes place in the leaf litter and the lycaena phlaeas is thought to be tended by ants.

There lycaena phlaeas between two and three broods a year, fewer further north. In exceptionally good years, a fourth brood sometimes occurs in the south and adults can still be seen flying into November.

Small Copper

On March 2nd,the large specimen was still feeding and measured The green form was fully grown on March 25th,being then days old, and spun up on the 27th. When fully grown after fourth moult and after hibernation, days old, it measures The body is very convex above, rising lycaena phlaeas to the fourth segment and sloping posteriorly; both the anterior and posterior segments are rounded, flattened and projecting, the lateral lycaena phlaeas dilated, and the under surface compressed so that the legs and claspers are hidden while resting; the head is completely concealed within the first segment, and only protruded while feeding and crawling.

The sides are not so flattened as in the former stages.