North American Butterflies and Moths List

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U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Mariposa Copper (Lycaena mariposa)
JPG -- species photo

Mariposa Copper (Lycaena mariposa [Reakirt])

Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 1/4 inches (2.9 - 3.2 cm).

Identification: Upperside of male iridescent purple with black borders and pale markings; female yellow-orange with more distinctive markings. Underside hindwing of both sexes is mottled gray.

Life history: Males perch in low spots to watch for females.

Flight: One flight from July-August.

Caterpillar hosts: Vaccinium arbuscula in California, and other plants of the heath family (Ericaceae).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Forest openings and bogs where host plants grow.

Range: Southern Alaska south along the Rocky Mountains to Wyoming; Washington, central Oregon, northeastern California.

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.


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

Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies.  Houghton-Mifflin Co., 
    Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

Mariposa Copper (Lycaena mariposa)
distribution map
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