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
State and Regional References:
Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1980. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. University of Oklahoma Press. Norman. Ferris, C.D. 1971. An Annotated Checklist of the Rhopalocera [Butterflies] of Wyoming. University of Wyoming Agriculture Experiment Station Science Monograph 23: 1-75. 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.