North American Butterflies and Moths List

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

The Registry of Nature Habitats

U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Oregon

Great Copper (Lycaena xanthoides)
JPG -- species photo

Great Copper (Lycaena xanthoides [Boisduval])

Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 inches (3.3 - 4.4 cm).

Identification: Gray above with orange band and black spots along edge of hindwing. Below tan with black spots. Orange trim on hind trim on hindwing.

Life history: Males perch and patrol flats and streambeds in search of receptive females.

Flight: May to mid-August, usually late May to mid-July.

Caterpillar hosts: Several dock species.

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Open foothills and valleys.

Range: Southern Oregon south through westside California to extreme northern Baja California.

Conservation: None required, although range is being invaded by exotic European weeds that may reduce habitat suitability and availability. Subspecies obsolescens limited to Hunter Mountain in Death Valley National Monument is extremely limited in distribution.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G-5. Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery. Subspecies obsolescens is ranked G5T1.

Management needs: None reported.


Emmel, T.C. and J.F. Emmel. 1973. The butterflies of southern California. 
     Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles. 148 pages.

Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986.California Butterflies. University of California 
     Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. 246 pp, 24 plates.

Opler, P.A. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies.  Houghton-Mifflin Co., 
     Boston, Mass. 540 pages, 44 color plates.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, 
     Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies including 
     adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO.

Author: Paul A. Opler

State and Regional References:

Dornfeld, E. J. 1980. The Butterflies of Oregon. Forest Grove, 	Ore., Timber 

Hinchliff, J. 1994. An atlas of Oregon Butterflies. Oregon State University
     Bookstore, Corvallis.

Hinchliff, J. 1994. The distribution of the butterflies of Oregon. Evergreen 
     Aurelians. Oregon State University Bookstore, Corvallis, 176 pp. + map. 

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.
Great Copper (Lycaena xanthoides)
distribution map
map legend

Return to species list
Return to Butterflies of North America main page