Hermes Copper (Lycaena hermes [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).
Identification: Each hindwing has 1 tail. Upperside brown with yellow-orange patch surrounding black spots. Underside bright yellow; forewing with 4-6 black spots, hindwing with 3-6 black spots.
Life history: Males perch to watch for females. Eggs are laid singly on twigs of host plant; they hibernate until the following spring. Caterpillars eat young leaves.
Flight: One flight from May-July.
Caterpillar hosts: Redberry (Rhamnus crocea) in the buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers of wild buckwheat (Eriogonum) in the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae).
Habitat: Mixed woodlands, chaparral, and coastal sage scrub.
Range: Restricted range from San Diego County and adjacent Baja California Norte.
Conservation: Species of concern for U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Many colonies lost to development or threatened by fire.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G3 - Very rare or local throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range (21 to 100 occurrences). (Threatened throughout its range).
Management needs: Protect existing colonies from habitat loss and fragmentation.
Brown, J. W., H. G. Real, and D. K. Faulkner. Butterflies of Baja California. 1992. Lepidoptera Research Foundation, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA. 129 pages, 8 color plates. New, T. R., editor. 1993. Conservation biology of Lycaenidae (Butterflies). Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 8. IUCN, The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Brown, J.W., Real, H.G., and D.K. Faulkner. 1992. Butterflies of Baja California. Lepidoptera Research Foundation, Beverly Hills, Calif. Comstock, J.A. 1927. Butterflies of California. Privately published, Los Angeles, Calif. [Facsimile available from Entomological Reprint Specialists, Los Angeles, Calif.] Dameron, W. 1997. Searching for butterflies in southern California. Flutterby Press, Los Angeles, Calif. Emmel, T.C. Editor. 1998. Systematics of western North American butterflies. Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida. Emmel, T. C. and J. F. Emmel. 1973. The Butterflies of Southern California. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Series No. 26. Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986. California Butterflies. California Natural History Guide 51. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. Langston, R.L. 1981. The Rhopalocera of Santa Cruz Island, California. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 18: 24-35. Miller, Scott E. 1985. Butterflies of the Califorenia Channel Islands. Journal of the Research on the Lepidoptera 23: 282-296. Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Orsak, L.J. 1977. The Butterflies of Orange County, California. Museum of Systematic Biology, University of california, Irvine. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo. Steiner, J. 1990. Bay Area Butterflies: The Distribution and Natural History of San Francisco Region Rhopalocera. Hayward, Calif.: Hayward State University, Masters Thesis. Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Tilden, J.W. 1965. Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay Region. California Natural History Guide 12. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.