Gray Copper (Lycaena dione [Scudder])
Wing span: 1 1/3 - 1 ½ inches (2.4 - 3.8 cm).
Identification: Dark gray above with 2 black spots on forewing. Outer edge of hindwing with pale orange and black band. Below, wings pale gray with black spots. Outer hindwing band repeated.
Life history: Male perch and patrol periodically in search of receptive females.
Flight: One flight from mid-June to July, rarely August.
Caterpillar hosts: Several species of docks (Rumex).
Adult food: Flower nectar of various plants including alfalfa, sweet clover, and milkweeds.
Habitat: Relatively flat open areas including prairies, waste fields, stream beds, edges of reservoirs.
Range: Southern Canadian prairie provinces south through Great Plains to southern Missouri, Oklahoma, and northern Texas.
Conservation: None reported. Host plants adapted to weedy conditions. Butterflies seem to adapt to wide range of conditions.
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.
Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 442 pages. Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. Lafontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto. 282 pages, 32 color plates. Opler, P.A. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 540 pages, 44 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. 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