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Butterflies of New York -- Lycaena helloides

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of New York

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:

Cech, R. 1993.  A Distributional Checklist of the Butterflies and Skippers of 
     the New York City Area (50-mile Radius) and Long Island.  New York City 
     Butterfly Club Special Publication.  27 pp.

Forbes, W.T.M.  1960.  Lepidoptera of New York and Neighboring States.  Part 
     IV: Agaristidae through Nymphalidae Including Butterflies.  Cornell Univ. 
     Agricultural Experimental Station, Ithaca, N.Y.  Memoir 371.  188 pp.

Glassberg,  J.  1993.  Butterflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to 
     Butterflies in the Boston-New York-Washington Region.  Oxford Univ. Press, 
     New York, N.Y.  160 pp. 

Klass, C. and Dirig, R.  1992.  Learning about Butterflies.  Cornell Cooperative 
     Extension Publication, 4-H Member/Leader Guide 139-M-9.  Ithaca, N.Y.  
     36 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.      

Shapiro, A.M.  1974.  Butterflies and Skippers of New York State.  Cornell Univ.
     Agricultural Experimental Station, Ithaca, N.Y.  Search 4:1-60.   
Purplish Copper (Lycaena helloides)
distribution map
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