North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Indiana

Purplish Copper (Lycaena helloides)
JPG -- species photo

Purplish Copper (Lycaena helloides [Boisduval])

Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 1/2 inches (3 - 3.8 cm).

Identification: Upperside of male brown with purple iridescence; female more orange. Hindwing of both sexes with broad orange band at margin.

Life history: Males perch and sometimes patrol in low spots for females. Eggs are scattered at the base of the host plant or in litter beneath it. Eggs hibernate; caterpillars feed on leaves.

Flight: Three or four flights in lower elevation California. Two flights in many areas from May-July and from August-October. One flight at high altitude and far northern habitats from July-August.

Caterpillar hosts: Knotweeds (Polygonum) and docks (Rumex) in the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae), cinquefoils in the rose family (Rosaceae).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Disturbed areas including roadsides and open fields; wet meadows, marshes, streamsides, and valleys.

Range: Great Lakes area through the northern Midwest and northern plains to British Columbia, south to Baja California.

Comments: The distinction between the Purplish Copper and the Dorcas Copper is blurred in the Rocky Mountains. These populations here are considered under the Purplish Copper.

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.

References:


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.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:


Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.

     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.



Shull, E.M.  1987.  The Butterflies of Indiana.  Indiana Academy of Science.

     Indiana Univ. Press.  Bloomington & Indianapolis, IN.  262 pp.

Purplish Copper (Lycaena helloides)
distribution map
map legend

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