Dorcas Copper (Lycaena dorcas Kirby)
Wing span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).
Identification: Upperside brown; male with blue-purple iridescence, female with few light areas. Hindwing with a few red-orange spots on border near anal angle. Underside is orange-brown.
Life history: Males perch and patrol near hostplants for females. Eggs are laid singly on the underside of host leaflets and drop to the ground in autumn. The eggs overwinter and in the spring the young caterpillars must find their way to the host plant to feed on the leaves.
Flight: One flight from June-September.
Caterpillar hosts: Shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) and other cinquefoils.
Adult food: Not reported.
Habitat: Edges of bogs, old brushy fields, open places near small streams.
Range: Boreal Alaska and Canada south to Washington, east to eastern Ontario and the northern Great Lakes states. Isolated population in Maine.
Conservation: Subspecies claytoni in Maine should be conserved.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: Manage and conserve habitat of Clayton's copper in Maine.
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:
Brower, A.E. 1974. A List of the Lepidoptera of Maine - Part 1: The Macrolepidoptera. Life Sciences and Agricultural Station, Univ. of Maine at Orono. Technical Bulletin No. 66. 136 pp. Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON. 280 pp. Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.