North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Colorado

Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus)
JPG -- species photo

Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus [Cramer])

Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 7/8 inches (3.2 - 4.8 cm).

Identification: Upperside of male iridescent copper-brown; female forewing yellow-orange with black spots. Underside forewing of both sexes orange with black spots; underside hindwing is gray-white with black spots and a broad orange outer margin.

Life history: Males perch on low growth near host plants to watch for females. Eggs are laid singly on plants. Eggs hibernate until spring; caterpillars eat leaves.

Flight: Two in the north and west, from June-September; three in southern part of range, from May-November.

Caterpillar hosts: Herbs of the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae) including curly dock (Rumex crispus).

Adult food: Adults visit flowers only occasionally, but have been seen taking nectar at blackberry and red clover.

Habitat: Low, wet areas such as bogs, marshes, wet meadows, ponds.

Range: Maine west across southern Canada and the Great Lake states to eastern Montana and central Colorado; south to Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Maryland.

Conservation: Not usually required.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Management needs: None reported.


Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the  Great Plains. 
    Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates.

Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern  butterflies. Peterson 
    field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co.,  Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates.

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, F.M., Eff, J.D., and B. Rotger. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Denver 
     Museum of Natural History, Denver.

Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1980. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. 
     University of Oklahoma Press. Norman.

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp. 

Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised 
     edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.

Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. 
     Privately published, Denver, Colo.

Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. 
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.
Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus)
distribution map
map legend

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