Ruddy Copper (Lycaena rubidus [Behr])
Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 5/8 inches (2.9 - 4.1 cm).
Identification: Upperside of male bright red-orange; female duller orange-brown to dark brown. Underside of both sexes gray-white to gray-yellow; hindwing with or without muted black spots.
Life history: Males perch in open areas and along streams or gulches to watch for females. Eggs are laid singly on or near the base of the host plant. Eggs hibernate.
Flight: One flight from June-July at lower elevations; from July-August at higher elevations.
Caterpillar hosts: Dock (Rumex) species in the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae).
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Dry gravelly or sandy areas such as arid streamsides, sagebrush, scrub, dry fields, alluvial washes.
Range: British Columbia east to North Dakota; south to central California, and northern New Mexico.
Conservation: Not usually required.
Nature Conservancy Rank: G-5, 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. Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986.California Butterflies. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. 246 pp, 24 plates. 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. 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